Dietary assessment of British police force employees: a description of diet record coding procedures and cross-sectional evaluation of dietary energy intake reporting (The Airwave Health Monitoring Study)

BMJ Open. 2017 Apr 4;7(4):e012927. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012927.


Objectives: Dietary intake is a key aspect of occupational health. To capture the characteristics of dietary behaviour that is affected by occupational environment that may affect disease risk, a collection of prospective multiday dietary records is required. The aims of this paper are to: (1) collect multiday dietary data in the Airwave Health Monitoring Study, (2) describe the dietary coding procedures applied and (3) investigate the plausibility of dietary reporting in this occupational cohort.

Design: A dietary coding protocol for this large-scale study was developed to minimise coding error rate. Participants (n 4412) who completed 7-day food records were included for cross-sectional analyses. Energy intake (EI) misreporting was estimated using the Goldberg method. Multivariate logistic regression models were applied to determine participant characteristics associated with EI misreporting.

Setting: British police force employees enrolled (2007-2012) into the Airwave Health Monitoring Study.

Results: The mean code error rate per food diary was 3.7% (SD 3.2%). The strongest predictors of EI under-reporting were body mass index (BMI) and physical activity. Compared with participants with BMI<25 kg/m2, those with BMI>30 kg/m2 had increased odds of being classified as under-reporting EI (men OR 5.20 95% CI 3.92 to 6.89; women OR 2.66 95% CI 1.85 to 3.83). Men and women in the highest physical activity category compared with the lowest were also more likely to be classified as under-reporting (men OR 3.33 95% CI 2.46 to 4.50; women OR 4.34 95% CI 2.91 to 6.55).

Conclusions: A reproducible dietary record coding procedure has been developed to minimise coding error in complex 7-day diet diaries. The prevalence of EI under-reporting is comparable with existing national UK cohorts and, in agreement with previous studies, classification of under-reporting was biased towards specific subgroups of participants.


Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Records*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Police*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Report*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology