What data do nutrition epidemiologists collect to monitor the spread of eating habits?

We are pleased to present our conversation on the intersection between nutrition, data science, and epidemiology. This article will examine the ways nutritional epidemiologists use data to analyze and monitor the spread of eating habits across populations. This conversation is for anyone interested in public health and the impact of eating habits.

The importance of tracking dietary behaviors

Diet plays a major role in determining health outcomes. Poor diet has been associated with the rise of non-communicable illnesses such as cardiovascular and diabetes, which emphasizes the importance to understand dietary behavior. In this respect, nutritional epidemiologists are crucial in tracking these behaviors using data.

Our food choices have a direct impact on the progression and development of certain illnesses. A study in the "The Lancet", for example, found that unhealthful diets are responsible for over 11 million deaths worldwide in 2017 which could have been prevented. Nutritional epidemiologists are able to identify groups at risk, inform health policies, and develop intervention strategies by tracking and analysing dietary patterns. These specialists' work is crucial in the promotion of public health.

Get Started with Data Collection and Analyses

Data collection is the first step to tracking diet behaviors. You can collect data through surveys like the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which gathers information about dietary intake and individual health status. Medical records, data from supermarkets, and social media can also be used as sources.

The data is then statistically analysed to determine trends and correlations. This may require complex statistical methods to take into account confounding variables and biases. These analyses will then help to formulate dietary policies and health guidelines.

Example of the work done by Nutritional Epidemiologists

Other Tips

Data analysis can be a very powerful tool. However, it is not perfect. Factors like bias in reporting and confounding factors can influence results. When interpreting results, it's crucial to take into account these limitations. Other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, physical activity and alcohol consumption, must also be taken into consideration.


Conclusion: Nutritional epidemiologists are vital in the tracking of dietary behavior, and provide valuable insight that helps inform policies, interventions, and public health. They collect data from different sources, analyze it statistically to find trends and correlations, then use these results to improve health and wellbeing. The importance of the field will continue to increase as we gain a better understanding of how nutrition impacts health.