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Epidemiology and policy
P1-126 Nutrition needs to develop effective measurement policies
  1. E Alexander,
  2. D Yach,
  3. G A Mensah
  1. PepsiCo, Purchase, New York, USA


Measurements of food and nutrition availability and intake inform national policy, standards and research. However, existing nutrition data are not complete and often subject to error. Accurate and comprehensive data are needed on the source of food and nutrients. Nutrient sources amenable to intervention and the cost of such interventions must be described to determine feasible approaches. Food sales data describes the formal sector, omitting the informal sector which accounts for a majority of energy intake in some countries. Food balance sheets used by the FAO to estimate dietary intake do not take into account household or retail waste, overestimating dietary intake. NHANES, the US population intake survey is subject to underestimation of dietary intake due to reporting error, especially by overweight subjects. Standard portion sizes from national data are often used by researchers while actual portions are often much larger, and therefore include more calories. Finally, data on the food sources of nutrients are not publicly available. Current data describes food item sales yet nutrient quantities are not available for each item, preventing determination of company and food item sources of nutrient intake. To successfully improve the food environment and promote health through diet, measurement of dietary intake quality and supply must be improved.

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