National Cancer Institute
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Risk Factor Monitoring & Methods
Cancer Control and Population Sciences


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.

Last modified:
03 Oct 2007
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