APH 2005, 63, 227-241:

The Dutch national food consumption survey 2003. Methodological issues.

MC Ocké, KFAM Hulshof, CTM van Rossum

Keywords: 24-hour recalls, dietary monitoring, food consumption, telephone interviews, young adults

Background: Dietary monitoring is an important tool for food policy evaluation and development. The methodologies of previous Dutch surveys were less optimal for answering current food policy questions.

Aim and method: In order to gain experiences with a new approach, in 2003 a food consumption survey was conducted among 750 Dutch young adults (aged 19-30) using two independent computerized 24-hour dietary recalls administered by telephone.

Results: Despite the low response of the survey, the study population was representative with regard to age, level of education, and region. Subjects living in areas with high population densities were slightly underrepresented, which could be corrected for in the data. Consumption of vegetables and fruits among Dutch young adults was grossly inadequate. Intake of saturated fats was still too high, whereas average intake of trans fatty acids was almost at the recommended level.

Conclusion: This dietary assessment method seems promising as part of a revised dietary monitoring system for the Netherlands. The computerized 24-hour dietary recall method has the advantage that food consumption data with a great level of detail can be collected and stored. The use of a telephone approach made it possible to collect data on two independent days in an efficient way. Therefore, the resulting food consumption data allow for answering more questions than with the previous methodology. Such questions have to do with food safety and estimates of the fraction of the population adhering to dietary recommendations. The new approach has to be developed further for other population groups.