Misreporting of Dietary Intake Affects Estimated Nutrient Intakes in Low-Income Spanish-Speaking Women

Published:August 12, 2014DOI:


      Misreporting of dietary intake affects the validity of data collected and conclusions drawn in studies exploring diet and health outcomes. One consequence of misreporting is biological implausibility. Little is known regarding how accounting for biological implausibility of reported intake affects nutrient intake estimates in Hispanics, a rapidly growing demographic in the United States. Our study explores the effect of accounting for plausibility on nutrient intake estimates in a sample of Mexican-American women in northern California in 2008. Nutrient intakes are compared with Dietary Reference Intake recommendations, and intakes of Mexican-American women in a national survey are presented as a reference. Eighty-two women provided three 24-hour recalls. Reported energy intakes were classified as biologically plausible or implausible using the reported energy intakes to total energy expenditure cutoff of <0.76 or >1.24, with low-active physical activity levels used to estimate total energy expenditure. Differences in the means of nutrient intakes between implausible (n=36) and plausible (n=46) reporters of energy intake were examined by bivariate linear regression. Estimated energy, protein, cholesterol, dietary fiber, and vitamin E intakes were significantly higher in plausible reporters than implausible. There was a significant difference between the proportions of plausible vs implausible reporters meeting recommendations for several nutrients, with a larger proportion of plausible reporters meeting recommendations. Further research related to misreporting in Hispanic populations is warranted to explore the causes and effects of misreporting in studies measuring dietary intake, as well as actions to be taken to prevent or account for this issue.


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      J. C. Banna is a certified dietitian/nutritionist and an assistant professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.


      M. K. Fialkowski is assistant program director, Children’s Healthy Living Program, Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.


      M. S. Townsend is a nutrition specialist, Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis.