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Household Budget Surveys

Household budget surveys are conducted by many countries to provide food supply data at the household rather than national level. Summary data on household food use of chocolate have been included in budget survey reports (7), but as with chocolate supply data, waste by household members is not considered. In addition, chocolate purchased and consumed outside the home is not considered. Users of chocolate within a household cannot be distinguished, and individual variation cannot be assessed. Chocolate intakes by subpopulations based on age, sex, health status and other variables in most cases can be estimated only by using standard proportions or equivalents for age/sex categories.

Food Consumption Surveys of Individuals

Methods used for collecting data on food consumption by individuals are categorized as retrospective or prospective methods.

These methods focus on food consumed during a time period that has already passed. Commonly used retrospective methods include 24-hour or other short-term recalls, food frequencies and diet histories.

Recall methods require that survey respondents identify and quantify foods and beverages consumed during a specific period, usually the preceding day. Pictures, household measures or two- or three-dimensional food models may be used to help respondents quantify the food consumed. The interviewer may probe for certain foods or beverages that are frequently forgotten. However, such probing has also been shown to introduce bias by encouraging respondents to report items not actually consumed.

Recall interviews are relatively easy to conduct, require a minimum of time (about 20 min or less for a 24-hour recall) for completion, and can provide high-quality food consumption data for populations with low literacy (8, 9).

Many nationwide food consumption surveys have been conducted using short-term recall methods. The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 3) (10) and the 199496 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) (11) are examples of surveys conducted using recall methods (Figs 20.1 and 20.2).

Use of a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), or checklist, allows determination of the frequency of consumption of a limited number of foods. FFQ food lists are in many cases developed to allow the collection of data relevant for a very specific nutrition-related issue. Respondents are asked how many times a day, week or month each food on the list is usually consumed. Semi-quantitative FFQs

Retrospective

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