Assessment of dietary intake

Assessment of dietary intake is an important component of nutritional assessment. The different methods for assessment of dietary intake are:

  • Weighing of raw food
    • The amount of food to be cooked and the amount that is wasted or discarded is weighed
    • This is the most commonly used method
    • It is can be done for a period of 1-21 days (usually done for a period of 7 days – one dietary cycle)
  • Weighing of cooked food
    • Weighing of cooked food is a better method as changes to food during cooking is taken into consideration
    • But it does not have wide acceptance
  • Oral questionnaire method
    • This method is used when dietary information is to be collected from large number of people within a short time
    • In this method, people are surveyed using an orally administered questionnaire regarding the amount and type of food that they ate during the past 24 hours
    • It is a reliable and simple method if the data collection is meticulous

The data that is collected is expressed in terms of

  • Mean intake (grams) of cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, fish and eggs
  • Mean intake of nutrients per adult man value

The advantages of assessing dietary intake are:

  • For understanding the nutritional status of the people
  • To give recommendations to improve diet
  • To obtain data for planning

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