Development of a field-friendly automated dietary assessment tool and nutrient database for India

Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 14;111(1):160-71. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001864.


Studies of diet and disease risk in India and among other Asian-Indian populations are hindered by the need for a comprehensive dietary assessment tool to capture data on the wide variety of food and nutrient intakes across different regions and ethnic groups. The nutritional component of the India Health Study, a multicentre pilot cohort study, included 3908 men and women, aged 35-69 years, residing in three regions of India (New Delhi in the north, Mumbai in the west and Trivandrum in the south). We developed a computer-based, interviewer-administered dietary assessment software known as the 'NINA-DISH (New Interactive Nutrition Assistant - Diet in India Study of Health)', which consisted of four sections: (1) a diet history questionnaire with defined questions on frequency and portion size; (2) an open-ended section for each mealtime; (3) a food-preparer questionnaire; (4) a 24 h dietary recall. Using the preferred meal-based approach, frequency of intake and portion size were recorded and linked to a nutrient database that we developed and modified from a set of existing international databases containing data on Indian foods and recipes. The NINA-DISH software was designed to be easily adaptable and was well accepted by the interviewers and participants in the field. A predominant three-meal eating pattern emerged; however, patterns in the number of foods reported and the primary contributors to macro- and micronutrient intakes differed by region and demographic factors. The newly developed NINA-DISH software provides a much-needed tool for measuring diet and nutrient profiles across the diverse populations of India with the potential for application in other South Asian populations living throughout the world.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual*
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • India
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Meals / ethnology*
  • Mental Recall
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Portion Size
  • Software*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Micronutrients