Misreporting of energy and micronutrient intake estimated by food records and 24 hour recalls, control and adjustment methods in practice

Br J Nutr. 2009 Jul;101 Suppl 2:S73-85. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509990602.


In order to assess nutritional adequacy, valid estimates of nutrient intake are required. One of the main errors in dietary assessment is misreporting. The objective was to review the extent, nature and determinants of misreporting in dietary assessment, how this affects reported intakes of micronutrients and how this is identified and measured, and to identify the best ways of dealing with misreporting when interpreting results. A systematic literature search was conducted for studies of misreporting of dietary intake in adults by 24 hour recalls or by estimated or weighed food records, published up to March 2008. Thirty-seven relevant studies were identified. Possible causes of misreporting were identified. Methods most used to identify misreporting were the Goldberg cut-off (46 % studies) and the doubly labelled water technique (24 % studies). The magnitude of misreporting of energy intake was similar in all three dietary assessment methods. The percentage of under-reporters was about 30 % and energy intake was underestimated by approximately 15 %. Seven papers presented usable data for micronutrient intake. Absolute intakes of Fe, Ca and vitamin C (the three micronutrients addressed in all papers) were on average 30 % lower in low-energy reporters (LER) than that in non-LER and, although results were not consistent, there was a tendency for micronutrient density to be higher in LER. Excluding underreporters or using energy adjustment methods for micronutrient intakes is discussed. Residual method of energy adjustment seems to be a good tool for practice to decrease an influence of misreporting when interpreting results of studies based on food records and 24 hour recalls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diet Records*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Micronutrients