Dietary Assessment in Pregnant Women and Children
In 2000, the Congress passed the Children's Health Act (PL 106-310), which authorized
the National Children's Study
(NCS), a long-term examination of the effects of environmental influences on the
health and development of children. The NCS will include more than 100,000 children across
the United States, following them from before birth until age 21. In 2007, NCS identified
seven vanguard centers to
develop a focused plan for recruitment with the geographically distributed and
demographically varied research institutions selected. The recruitment and data
collection protocols are under development.
Among the most important environmental influences on maternal, fetal and child health
and well-being are nutritional
factors. Examining food intake patterns is therefore an important area of study for the NCS because foods are potential
vehicles for components that can promote health and for environmental contaminants that can adversely affect health.
To develop methodological recommendations for this aspect of the NCS, the Applied
Research Program, the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements,
and the Center for Human Nutrition at Johns Hopkins University directed
a literature review on assessing food and dietary supplement intakes in women and children. The NCS also convened
a workshop on dietary assessment methodology with experts in the field.
The literature review evaluated available methodology for measuring food, nutrient and dietary
supplement intakes to determine which instruments would be most suitable for the various stages of life to be studied
in the NCS.
The workshop identified and reviewed the current state of knowledge about methodologies
used to assess dietary intake during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, early childhood and adolescence and the validity,
feasibility, strengths and limitations associated with these methods during each time period.