Traditional dietary assessment methods, used in the UK, such as weighed food diaries impose a large participant burden, often resulting in difficulty recruiting representative samples and underreporting of energy intakes. One approach to reducing the burden placed on the participant is to use portion size assessment tools to obtain an estimate of the amount of food consumed, removing the need to weigh all foods. An age range specific food atlas was developed for use in assessing children’s dietary intakes. The foods selected and portion sizes depicted were derived from intakes recorded during the UK National Diet and Nutrition Surveys of children aged 1.5 to 16 years. Estimates of food portion sizes using the food atlas were compared against 4-day weighed intakes along with in-school / nursery observations, by the research team. Interviews were conducted with parents the day after completion of the diary, and for children aged 4 to 16 years, also with the child. Mean estimates of portion size consumed were within 7% of the weight of food recorded in the weighed food diary. The limits of agreement were wide indicating high variability of estimates at the individual level but the precision increased with increasing age. For children 11 years and over, agreement with weighed food diaries, was as good as that of their parents in terms of total weight of food consumed and of intake of energy and key nutrients. The age appropriate food photographs offer an alternative to weighed intakes for dietary assessment with children.
Foster, E., Hawkins, A., Barton, K. L., Stamp, E., Matthews, J. N. S., & Adamson, A. J. (2017). Development of food photographs for use with children aged 18 months to 16 years: comparison against weighed food diaries – The Young Person’s Food Atlas (UK). PLoS One, 12(2), . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169084