Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Procedures for screening out inaccurate reports of dietary energy intake

Megan A Mccrorya1 c1, Cheryl L Hajduka1 and Susan B Robertsa1

a1 The Energy Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111-1524, USA


Objective: To review existing methods and illustrate the use of a new, simple method for identifying inaccurate reports of dietary energy intake (rEI).

Design: Comparison of rEI with energy requirements estimated by using total energy expenditure predicted (pTEE) from age, weight, height and sex using a previously published equation. Propagation of error calculations was performed and cut-offs for excluding rEI at plus or minus two standard deviations (±2 SD) and ±1 SD for the agreement between rEI and pTEE were established.

Setting: Dietary survey in a US national cohort: the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), 1994–96.

Subjects: Men and non-pregnant, non-lactating women aged 21–45 years in the CSFII who provided two multiple-pass 24-hour recalls, height and weight(n = 3755).

Results: Average rEI was 77% of pTEE in men, and 64% of pTEE in women. Calculated cut-offs were rEI <40% or >160% of pTEE (±2 SD) and <70% or >130% of pTEE (±1 SD), respectively. Use of only the ±1 SD cut-offs, not the ±2 SD cut-offs, resulted in a relationship between rEI and body weight similar to what was expected (based on an independently calculated relationship between rEI and measured TEE). Exclusion of rEI outside either the ±2 SD (11% of subjects) or ±1 SD (57% of subjects) cut-offs did not affect mean reported macronutrient intakes, but did markedly affect relationships between dietary composition and body mass index.

Conclusions: When examining relationships between diet and health, use of ±1 SD cut-offs may be preferable to ±2 SD cut-offs for excluding inaccurate dietary reports.


c1 *Corresponding author: Email