| Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective (1987) |
|The uses of food composition data|
|NCI food data needs: impact on coding systems|
Uses of food composition data
As evident form the above discussion, NCI-supported researchers at the international, national, local, and individual levels vary in the sophistication of food composition data they would require. Scientists involved in international projects need a system with familiar names of foods, standard units of measurement, and foreign-language translations of data to understand better the relationship between nutrient intakes and cancer incidence patterns throughout the world. If associations between certain nutrient deficients (e.g. selenium) and cancer are confirmed, INFOODS could assist international agencies in identifying foods that must be imported to satisfy nutritional requirements and help prevent cancer.
National NCI-supported studies have a need for more standardized analysis techniques to permit intra-study comparisons, particularly with regard to fibre, carotenoid, and retinoid composition. Researchers would benefit from the standardization of sampling and analysis procedures, modes of data expression and conversion factors, and other guidelines developed by INFOODS. INFOODS vocabulary that would be particuiarly important include origin, part, process, and stage of maturity.
At the local level, access to a food data system would not only assist CNRU laboratory and clinical investigations, it would be useful in nutrition research training, nutritional support services, and the nutrition education activities of professionals, patients, and the general public. For example, medical and surgical residents or other professionals pursuing advanced nutrition training could be instructed about the INFOODS system and its standards and guidelines relating to data gathering, storage, interchange, and usage. The information could then be utilized in their research, which would ultimately contribute to the expansion of the INFOODS network.
At the individual level, consumers must be aware of the dietary modifications they can make to reduce their risk of cancer, the second leading cause of US mortality. The valid and reliable data managed by INFOODS ultimately could be used to guide the daily food choices of the American public.