Dietary assessment methods for micronutrient intake in elderly people: a systematic review

Br J Nutr. 2009 Dec;102 Suppl 1:S118-49. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509993175.


The European micronutrient recommendations aligned (EURRECA) Network of Excellence seeks to establish clear guidelines for assessing the validity of reported micronutrient intakes among vulnerable population groups. A systematic literature review identified studies validating the methodology used in elderly people for measuring usual dietary micronutrient intake. The quality of each validation study selected was assessed using a EURRECA-developed scoring system. The validation studies were categorised according to whether the reference method applied reflected short-term intake ( < 7 d), long-term intake ( > or = 7 d) or used biomarkers (BM). A correlation coefficient for each micronutrient was calculated from the mean of the correlation coefficients from each study weighted by the quality of the study. Thirty-three papers were selected, which included the validation of twenty-five different FFQ, six diet histories (DH), one 24-h recall (24HR) and a videotaped dietary assessment method. A total of five publications analysed BM, which were used to validate four FFQ, and one 24HR, presenting very good correlations only for vitamin E. The analysis of weighted correlation coefficients classified by FFQ or DH showed that most of the micronutrients had higher correlations when the DH was used as the dietary method. Comparing only FFQ results showed very good correlations for measuring short-term intakes of riboflavin and thiamin and long-term intakes of P and Mg. When frequency methods are used for assessing micronutrient intake, the inclusion of dietary supplements improves their reliability for most micronutrients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Europe
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritional Sciences / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers
  • Micronutrients