Appraising Home Food Availability
A cross-sectional study has shown it is feasible to use screeners for individuals to appraise household food supplies. Screeners seek to obtain information about a limited number of foods and beverages consumed or dietary practices whilst food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) examine the frequency and, in some cases, portion size. Either may be used in the short- (e.g. week or month) or longer-term (e.g. past year).
The desire to appraisal of home food availability was borne from a growing interest in links between environment and obesity. Currently, there are tools available but these are limited in scope and burdensome to use.
Martin-Biggers et al. investigated the feasibility of using food categories, and scoring algorithms from valid food frequency questionnaires, for individuals to estimate nutrient availability of food in households. Dietary fat and fruit-vegetable-fibre screeners were used to assess nutrient availability and compared with household food inventories from 100 two-parent families with one or more children who were 12 years old or younger. Foods were coded to match screener food groups, and the amounts converted to total adult daily equivalent servings to express the greatest possible frequency. Scoring algorithms were converted to express all scores on a per day basis.
The fruit-vegetable- fibre screener ranked households accurately not only for fruits, vegetables and dietary fibre, but also vitamin C. The fat screener and household inventory were positively correlated (r ≥ 0.58) for total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
Importantly, these results could have implications for two of our projects, namely QuaLiFY and TDS-Exposure, which are examining portion-sizes or using food identification, description and classification, respectively.
Appraising nutrient availability of household food supplies using Block Dietary Screeners for individuals; J Martin-Biggers, M Koenings, V Quick, J M Abbot and C Byrd-Bredbenner; European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2015) 69, 1028–1034; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.30; published online 25 March 2015