What is the role of nutritional epidemiology in dealing with underreporting food consumption?

We are pleased to welcome you to our conversation on an important aspect of nutrition epidemiology: the issue of underreporting food consumption in dietary survey. The topic is important because accurate reporting of food intake is crucial for researchers in order to make valid connections between diet and outcomes. We will discuss the significance of this topic, its treatment, as well as some tips and examples.

It is important to address underreporting of diet in surveys

In dietary surveys, underreporting is common. This can result in inaccurate results, which could skew research and affect the development of nutrition policies or intervention. It is therefore important to understand the causes of underreporting, and implement strategies that will help mitigate this problem. Underreporting is a significant challenge for dietary assessments, and the World Health Organization has highlighted the importance of innovative solutions in order to improve the validity.

What to note before you start:

Understanding the causes of underreporting is essential to addressing it. Underreporting of food consumption can be caused by factors such as the social desirability effect, recall problems, and misunderstood survey instructions. These potential traps must be taken into consideration when researchers design their study. National Institutes of Health recommends using objective measurements and multiple methods of assessment of diet, where feasible, including biomarkers to confirm self-reported information.

Nutritional Epidemiology: Examples to Address Underreporting

More Tips and Suggestions

It is important that, in addition to the strategies mentioned above, researchers also create an atmosphere where participants can feel confident about reporting accurately their diet. It is important to maintain confidentiality, use neutral language and avoid judgment. Researchers must also consider the limitations in their chosen method of diet assessment and combine methods to get a better understanding of dietary intake.


The nutritional epidemiology field faces significant challenges when it comes to addressing underreporting in food surveys. This requires a multi-faceted approach that involves technological tools, educational materials, repeated measurement, and statistical adjustment. Understanding the reasons for underreporting, and implementing strategies to reduce it, will allow us to collect more accurate data and improve our understanding of the relationship between diet, health, and nutrition.