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"What We Eat in America" Survey--Results and Future Direction

By Judy McBride
August 13, 1998

What percentage of Americans eat snacks on any given day? What age group eats the most snacks? And how does one apply the new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI's)--the replacement for Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA's)--to populations? These are some of the questions to be answered at a two-day conference, "What We Eat in America--Research & Results," Sept. 14-15.

Sponsored by the Food Surveys Research Group (FSRG), which conducts the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nationwide food consumption survey, the conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rockville, Maryland. The conference is free, but preregistration is required.

Attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the next USDA nationwide survey that will begin in 1999. And they will learn about plans to integrate the USDA survey with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to become the National Food and Nutrition Survey.

Allison Yates, director of the National Academy of Science's Food and Nutrition Board, will give the keynote address Monday morning on nutrition today and implications for the future.

Thirty other speakers from USDA, other federal agencies and academia will discuss American eating patterns, nutritional knowledge and survey methods from soup to nuts. Policymakers rely on the USDA and NHANES surveys to develop nutritional education programs and food assistance programs, among their many uses.

Speakers will present some new findings from the 1994-96 survey--known as "What We Eat in America"--and from the accompanying Diet and Health Knowledge Survey, says conference co-chair Rhonda Sebastian. The latter shows just how much or little we Americans know about eating for good health. All data from these surveys are summarized on a new CD-ROM to be released at the conference.

The entire program and registration information is on the Food Surveys Research Group Web site:

The site received the highestrating from the Tufts University Nutrition Navigator--the first online rating guide evaluating nutrition Web sites based on accuracy, depth and usefulness of information.

Contact: Rhonda Sebastian, Food Surveys Research Group, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, 4700 Rover Road, Unit 83, Riverdale, MD 20737, phone (301) 734-8482, fax (301) 7345496, rsebastian@rbhnrc.

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