Estimating Usual Dietary In take From National Health and Nut rition Examination Survey Data Using the National Cancer Institute Method

Vital Health Stat 2. 2018 Feb;(178):1-63.


Dietary recommendations are intended to be met based on dietary intake over long periods, as associations between diet and health result from habitual intake, not a single eating occasion or day of intake. Measuring usual intake directly is impractical for large population-based surveys due to the respondent burden associated with reporting habitual intake over longer periods. Therefore, analytical techniques were developed to estimate usual intake using as few as 2 days of 24-hour dietary recall data. With National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, this report demonstrates how to estimate usual intake using the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This report demonstrates how to estimate the usual intake of nutrients consumed daily or episodically using NHANES data. Means, percentiles, and the percentages above or below specified Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) values for given day, within-person mean (WPM), and estimates of usual intake are presented. Consistent with previous analyses, mean intakes were similar across methods. However, the distributions estimated by nonusual intake methods were wider compared with the NCI Method, which can lead to misclassification of the percentage of the population above or below certain DRIs. Use of NHANES data to examine the proportion of the population at risk of insufficiency or excess of certain nutrients, with methods like given day and WPM that do not address within-person variation, may lead to biased estimates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Cancer Institute (U.S.) / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nutrition Surveys / methods*
  • Nutrition Surveys / standards*
  • Research Design
  • Sex Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult