Inventory Of Existing Surveillance Systems In Europe Dietary Assessment Methodologies For Dietary Monitoring: A DEDIPAC Study

Silvia BEL-SERRAT, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
HUYBRECHTS I. 1 , THUMANN B. 2 , HEBESTREIT A. 2 , VAN DER PLOEG H. 3 , AHRENS W. 2 , SLIMANI N. 1

1 Dietary Exposure Assessment (DEX) group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
2 Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS, Bremen, Germany
3 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Purpose: To gather information on dietary assessment methodology currently used for dietary monitoring in Europe.
Methods: The information was collected within the framework of the Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (DEDIPAC) Knowledge Hub (KH) as part of an inventory of existing surveillance systems in Europe targeting different populations and health outcomes. An ad hoc inventory questionnaire was developed and disseminated among the representatives of the eleven DEDIPAC countries. Eligible surveillance systems were required to meet specific inclusion criteria.
Results: Fifty-one surveillance systems met the inclusion criteria: six international surveys and forty-five national initiatives. Dietary intake was assessed in the six pan-European surveillance systems and in 37 national surveillance systems. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQs, 29 studies) followed by 24-hour dietary recalls (24-HDRs, 11 studies) were most used. FFQs were mainly self-administrated and paper-based whereas 24-HDRs were computer-based interviews, i.e. face-to-face- or telephone-based. Many studies assessed the whole diet or collected information on many food items to evaluate the overall diet of the individuals. The number of food items included in the questionnaires varied from between 1 to 210. Few tools were validated and tested for reliability.
Conclusions: Many on-going surveillance systems assessed dietary intake. The methodologies applied varied across surveys with FFQs and 24-HDRs as the most popular tools. A need was observed for standardization of dietary methodologies applied to ensure the comparability of dietary data across Europe. Emphasis should be given to the implementation of a validated and standardized dietary methodology for dietary surveillance across Europe. The inventory helped to identify gaps and needs in terms of dietary monitoring and will contribute to the roadmap for an integrated pan-European surveillance system.
Funding sources: International Agency for Research on Cancer, Joint Programming Initiative ‘Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life.