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Luque, Veronica; Escribano, Joaquin; Mendez-Riera, Georgina; Schiess, Sonia; Koletzko, Berthold; Verduci, Elvira; Stolarczyk, Anna; Martin, Francoise; Closa-Monasterolo, Ricardo (March 2013): Methodological Approaches for Dietary Intake Assessment in Formula-fed Infants. In: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Vol. 56, No. 3: pp. 320-327




Background and Objective: The estimation of dietary intake remains a challenge in human nutritional studies. In infants, the use of food diaries (FDs) is a suitable method already validated; however, this method is not exempt from error. In formula-fed infants, dilution of powdered formulas may produce errors. Our aim was to develop and validate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the assessment of dietary intake in formula-fed infants, attending potential sources of error. Methods: We analysed sources of error in a random subsample of 3-day FDs from 100 infants enrolled in the European Childhood Obesity Project. Calculations to estimate intakes were standardised and included in a software tool (SOPsystem). An evaluation of a simulated FD was performed by 9 trained nutritionists and 23 nutrition students (n = 225 and n = 575 bottle evaluations, respectively) to compare the results obtained when using or not the SOPsystem. Correct answers (%), coefficients of variation, and the time spent (minutes) to assess the simulated FD were analysed. Results: Overall, 60% of the FDs contained reports of incorrect volumes, and 37% reported incorrect formula dilutions. When the SOPsystem was used, correct answers in the simulated FD were more frequent (P < 0.001) and the mean coefficient of variation and the time spent were lower (P < 0.005 and P < 0.01, respectively). Conclusions: The development and implementation of SOPs with a software tool that identifies specific sources of error in record-keeping achieved a harmonised and improved process for assessing dietary intakes in formula-fed infants, minimising errors in calculations and reducing the work time invested.