Comparison of food consumption in Indian adults between national and sub-national dietary data sources

Aleksandrowicz, L and Tak, M and Green, R and Kinra, S and Haines, A (2017) Comparison of food consumption in Indian adults between national and sub-national dietary data sources. BRITISH JOURNAL OF NUTRITION, 117 (7). pp. 1013-1019.

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Accurate data on dietary intake are important for public health, nutrition and agricultural policy. The National Sample Survey is widely used by policymakers in India to estimate nutritional outcomes in the country, but has not been compared with other dietary data sources. To assess relative differences across available Indian dietary data sources, we compare intake of food groups across six national and sub-national surveys between 2004 and 2012, representing various dietary intake estimation methodologies, including Household Consumption Expenditure Surveys (HCES), FFQ, food balance sheets (FBS), and 24-h recall (24HR) surveys. We matched data for relevant years, regions and economic groups, for ages 16–59. One set of national HCES and the 24HR showed a decline in food intake in India between 2004–2005 and 2011–2012, whereas another HCES and FBS showed an increase. Differences in intake were smallest between the two HCES (1 % relative difference). Relative to these, FFQ and FBS had higher intake (13 and 35 %), and the 24HR lower intake (−9 %). Cereal consumption had high agreement across comparisons (average 5 % difference), whereas fruit and nuts, eggs, meat and fish and sugar had the least (120, 119, 56 and 50 % average differences, respectively). Spearman’s coefficients showed high correlation of ranked food group intake across surveys. The underlying methods of the compared data highlight possible sources of under- or over-estimation, and influence their relevance for addressing various research questions and programmatic needs.

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