Cover Image
close this bookFood Composition Data: A User's Perspective (UNU, 1987, 223 pages)
close this folderOther considerations
close this folderDietary assessment methods used by the national health and nutrition examination surveys (NHANES)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentDesign of NHANES II
View the documentMajor nutrition-related components of NHANES II
View the documentUses of dietary data
View the documentPlans for future NHANES
View the documentConclusion


The last 15 years have been a period of unparalleled interest in the relationship of diet to health. The dietary component of NHANES together with the clinical and biochemical assessment form a unique data set on a nationally representative sample of people. NHANES data have been used to monitor changes in health, nutritional status, and dietary intake over time. Interrelationships among dietary and health variables in the general population have been studied. NHANES III will continue to build on this information foundation.

A problem in planning the dietary component for NHANES III is that conflicting demands are being made. Regulatory agencies and researchers want more detail about the food people eat, how it is packaged and prepared, and what nutrients, additives, and toxic substances it contains. Demands for more rapid publication of data would lead us to simpler interviews with less detail about the foods consumed.

While this dilemma probably cannot be resolved immediately, we would like to hear discussion of the pros and cons of shortened, simplified interviews and data bases for use with NHANES. We would also like to hear recommendations on how to make our national surveys more compatible while extending their usefulness to policy makers and researchers.