Dietary Assessment Literature Review:
Research Needs in Adolescent Populations
As with school age children, it is difficult to make conclusions about
the validity of available dietary assessment instruments for adolescents
because of the differences in instruments, research designs, reference
methods, and populations in the validation literature. Many of the research
needs identified for adolescents are similar to those identified for school
- Examination of the validity and reliability of each dietary assessment
method by age, gender, ethnic subgroup, and socioeconomic status is
necessary to understand the best application of each tool (1).
- Development and validation of improved methods for assessing dietary
supplement use is needed (9;64).
- Physiologically-based measures, such as doubly labeled water or serum
micronutrient concentrations merit further study because these reference
measures are not affected by respondent error; (1;161;201)
a more extensive database of assessments of TEE (Total
Energy Expenditure) by the DLW (Doubly Labeled
Water) method is needed.
- Identification and characterization of subgroups most likely to misreport
food intakes, together with the reasons for doing so, needs further
study, along with the development of improved techniques to identify
underreporters and overreporters at the individual level (161;201).
- The issue of whether underreporting of diet applies to the diet as
a whole or whether there is selective underreporting of nutrient intake,
whether by food types, meals or snack foods needs examination (161).
- The reasons for, effects of, non-participation by children and adolescents
should be examined to identify possible sources of bias (non-response
bias) and to assess implications for design analysis, and interpretation
of results (161;217).
- The effect of body size on reporting of dietary intake requires further
- The effects of a longer time lag between meal recall and environmental
factors on the accuracy of recall in adolescents need to be established
- More research is needed on the prompts that can aid memory retrieval
at various ages without increasing the risk of eliciting socially-desirable
responses. Environmentally specific probes (e.g., school, fast food
restaurants, extracurricular activities, media and entertainment, food
industry packaging of foods for children) within a food record or food
frequency questionnaire also are needed (160;161;206;218).
- Refinement of statistical techniques to account for systematic bias
in pediatric populations is needed. Statistical models need to be developed
that will estimate the impact of systematic bias on estimates such as
relative risk, variance ratios, or proportions on the populations with
inadequate intakes (161).
- Emerging technologies should be applied to developing new dietary
assessment methods (e.g., Internet-based self-administered methods or
dietary assessment methods that incorporate cellular telephones, personal
digital assistants, or video recording) (219).
- Methods to improve assessment of alcohol intake are needed (218).