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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Apr;65(4 Suppl):1203S-1209S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/65.4.1203S.

Dietary methods research in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: underreporting of energy intake.

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Division of Health Examination Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA. rrb


Assessment of diet is a critical component of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which was designed to describe the health and nutritional status of the US population. We analyzed data collected with the primary dietary assessment instrument used in NHANES III, the 24-h recall, for 7769 nonpregnant adults aged > or = 20 y to investigate underreporting of total energy intake. Underreporting was addressed by computing a ratio of energy intake (EI) to estimated basal metabolic rate (BMRest). EI:BMRest was 1.47 for men and 1.26 for nonpregnant women; a population level of 1.55 is expected for a sedentary population. About 18% of the men and 28% of the women were classified as underreporters. Underreporting of energy intake was highest in women and persons who were older, overweight, or trying to lose weight. Underreporting varied according to smoking status, level of education, physical activity, and the day of the week the 24-h recall covered. Additionally, underreporting was associated with diets lower in fat (P < 0.01) and alcohol (P < 0.01 in women) when expressed as a percentage of total energy intake.

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