National dietary survey in 2012‐2016 on the general population aged 1‐79 years in the Netherlands

Abstract: During the years 2012-2016, the Dutch National Food Consumption survey was conducted in the Netherlands. For the survey, a random sample was drawn from consumer panels stratified by age and gender and maintained representative to the population with regard to region, address density and educational level. Complete results were obtained for 4,313 persons (response rate 65%); including toddlers, children, adolescents, adults and elderly. Pregnant or lactating women were excluded, as well as institutionalised persons. Two non-consecutive GloboDiet 24-hour dietary recalls were conducted by trained dieticians; for participants aged 1-8 and 71-79 years in combination with a food diary. Persons aged 16-70 years were interviewed by telephone. Other participants were interviewed at least once at home; children until age of 16 years and their caretakers were interviewed together. A questionnaire including physical activity and food frequency questions was also administered. Height and weight were measured for the participants that were interviewed at home and self-reported for those interviewed by telephone. The food consumption data were coded into the FoodEx2 nomenclature. Largely, the methodology followed the 2009 “Guidance of EFSA on General principles for the collection of national food consumption data in the view of a pan‐European dietary survey”. The main deviations concerned the exclusion of infants, not measuring height and weight in all age groups but having it self-reported, performing the interviews by telephone in most age groups, and performing a different dietary assessment method among children younger than 10 years and those above 70 years. The main challenge faced during the fieldwork was the response rate, and during data handling the laborious work necessary to match the >40,000 different reported foods to the national food composition database and the FoodEx2 classification and description system. Given the availability of new technologies, like apps and barcode scanners to identify foods with barcodes it is worthwhile to do research on less labour intensive alternatives for collecting food consumption data, while maintaining the level of detail and harmonisation across Europe.

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