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Review of methods used in food security assessment to measure food consumption and estimate energy intake of households or individuals

  • Special Report
  • Global
  • August 2, 2015
Review of methods used in food security assessment to measure food consumption and estimate energy intake of households or individuals

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  • Summary

  • Summary

    Energy intake is typically measured in individuals or households by surveying respondents about food consumption over a specified period. The gold standard of dietary assessment methods is direct observation of individuals or household members and weighing of all foods consumed, but this method is time-consuming and labor intensive.

    Two types of food consumption surveys that can be used to calculate energy intake for food security assessment are: 1) household consumption and expenditure surveys and 2) 24-hour dietary recall surveys. Household consumption and expenditure surveys are typically conducted routinely by governments for economic assessments. 24-hour dietary recall surveys are usually used in nutrition surveillance to collect individual-level data on a subset or all members of the household, but are not typically conducted routinely in low-income countries.

    Both methods rely on respondents to self-report their food consumption and so share similar types of respondent bias such as memory and estimations of quantity. This review discusses issues that have been identified with both survey types and the degree of accuracy to which the surveys estimate actual energy intake of the respondents.

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