Food and health data: their use in nutrition policy-making
WHO regional publications, European series No. 34
A multi-authored study of the ways in which data on food and nutrient consumption can be used to assess a population's food intake, detect dietary inadequacies, and develop food and nutrition policies that promote healthier eating. Addressed to nutrition researchers and policy-makers, the book explains how data from food balance sheets, household budget surveys, and studies at the individual level can be used to produce an accurate picture of a population's eating habits. Because the reliability of food data can be compromised by many factors, the book gives special attention to the weaknesses and limitations of data from each source, alerting its readers to common errors of application or interpretation. By providing a critical assessment of the use and misuse of food data, the book aims to help policy-makers know what types of data can be used with confidence when assessing trends and setting objectives.
The book consists of ten original papers authored by experts in the fields of nutrition, dietary research, epidemiology, and statistics. Papers discuss the uses of epidemiology to detect diet-related diseases, describe the limitations of data contained in food balance sheets, and explain how to use data from household budget surveys and dietary surveys to obtain more detailed information.
The special problem of estimating nutrient intake is covered in two papers. The concluding papers compare dietary data from different sources in order to illustrate their differences and similarities, and discuss the use and misuse of dietary recommendations, stressing the important distinctions between dietary requirements, recommended intakes, nutrient goals, and dietary guidelines.