Project: Understanding the Errors in Children’s Dietary Recalls
Award Year: 2002
Amount of award, fiscal 2002: $180,000.00
Institution: Medical College of Georgia Research Institute, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Baxter
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This study examines two issues that pertain to a child's self-reported dietary intake: the extent to which children confuse items consumed on different days and the similarity between accuracy at the nutrient level and the food item level. The most common method for dietary surveys in the United States is the 24-hour recall, which is often used to obtain information from children. However, validation studies indicate the possibility of considerable errors, in that children can either fail to report items consumed or mistakenly report items consumed another day. People report what they ate in terms of foods, but recall accuracy, compared to actual intake, is typically assessed at the nutrient level. Accordingly, accuracy of nutrient measurement is dependent on accuracy of recall. But dietary surveys lack precise information on consumed food items: some items are substituted for closely similar one. Such substitutions between food items actually consumed and food items recorded as consumed distorts consumption measured at the nutrient level. The goal of this project is to better understand errors in children's dietary recall and the impacts of such errors on diet surveys.

The study explores two questions: First, when reporting dietary intake on a given day, to what extent do children confuse items consumed that day with items they could have consumed another day? Second, for children's dietary recalls, to what extent does accuracy assessed at the nutrient level parallel accuracy assessed at the food item level? Children's BMI will be examined to assess its relationship, if any, with the accuracy of their self-reported intake. Obtaining more accurate recalls from children have the potential for guiding the development and evaluation of nutrition education programs.

Topic: Data Collection and Methodology, Dietary Intake and Quality
Baxter, S., A. Smith, J. Hardin, and M. Nichols. "Conclusions about Children's Reporting Accuracy for Energy and Macronutrients Over Multiple Interviews Depend on the Analytic Approach for Comparing Reported Information to Reference Information," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 107, No. 4, April 2007.
Baxter, S., A. Smith, J. Hardin, and M. Nichols. “Conventional Energy and Macronutrient Variables Distort the Accuracy of Children's Dietary Reports: Illustrative Data from a Validation Study of Effect of Order Prompts,” Preventive Medicine, Vol. 44, Issue 1, January 2007.
Baxter, S., A. Smith, M. Nichols, C. Guinn, and J. Hardin. "Children's Dietary Reporting Accuracy Over Multiple 24-Hour Recalls Varies by Body Mass Index Category," Nutrition Research, Vol. 26, Issue 6, June 2006.
Baxter, S., R. Royer, J. Hardin, C. Guinn, and A. Smith. “Fourth-Grade Children are Less Accurate in Reporting School Breakfast than School Lunch During 24-Hour Dietary Recalls,” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Vol. 39, Issue 3, May/June 2007.
Smith, A., S. Baxter, J. Hardin and M. Nichols. “Conventional Analyses of Data from Dietary Validation Studies May Misestimate Reporting Accuracy: Illustration from a Study of the Effect of Interview Modality on Children’s Reporting Accuracy,” Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 10, Issue 11, November 2007.