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About Dietary Research: Monitoring Research


The Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch monitors food and nutrient intakes among the general population and selected subpopulations to examine relationships among various groups and identifies those at greatest nutritional risk. Our efforts include analyzing food intakes in terms of guidance-based servings and exploring dietary interrelationships through the use of eating pattern analyses. These techniques have allowed us to evaluate intakes in relation to federal recommendations, national health objectives and other standards, and to investigate sociodemographic, behavioral, and other factors associated with various levels of intake.

We use a number of information sources, including per capita food supply data and survey data, to determine estimates for single points in time as well as trends over time. Existing nationwide food consumption surveys are a major source of individual-level data, but we have also developed new surveillance data resources as necessary. For example, we have included diet-related questions on a national and a state-level health survey. NCI and US Department of Agriculture staff collaborated to revise the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), and the updated version (HEI–2010) was published in 2013. This index can be used to monitor dietary patterns nationwide. Researchers at the NCI and elsewhere have developed a method to estimate usual dietary intakes of foods and nutrients, which can be used to estimate the distribution of usual intake for a population or subpopulation. NCI partnered with the CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to develop Web-based tutorials that assist users in analyzing dietary, physical activity, and cardiovascular fitness data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014