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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Food Surveys Research Group

Project Number: 8040-53000-016-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 5, 2009
End Date: Jan 4, 2014

The mission of the Food Survey Research Group is to monitor and assess food consumption and related behavior of the U.S. population by conducting surveys and providing the resulting information for food and nutrition-related programs and public policy decisions. The following four objectives provide the structure and priorities to assure that this fundamental nutrition work is conducted with scientific integrity in a timely fashion. Objective 1. In collaboration with DHHS’ National Center for Health Statistics, collect, process, and disseminate nationwide dietary survey data according to specified timelines. Objective 2. Maintain and update supporting survey-related databases based upon scientifically sound research and utilizing new technological innovations. Objective 3. Assess dietary measurement error and update and/or revise dietary data collection methods and quality control procedures to enhance the accuracy and precision of dietary survey data. Objective 4. Analyze and interpret results from the nationwide dietary survey focusing on strategies for correct use of data, dietary nutritional adequacy of the American population and at-risk sub-groups, public health nutritional concerns, and/or policy implications. Temporary Objectives: Objective 1: Ensure that current functionality of the data output from Food Surveys Research Group is not compromised, including continuation of the second day of dietary surveillance and timely release of FNDDS and other databases. Objective 2: Conduct an independent and outside evaluation of the IT capabilities of the Food Surveys Research Group and the associated use of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference with respect to the ability to acquire, maintain and release data in a timely fashion and in multiple formats needed by the customers. Objective 3: Implement changes to update and modernize the IT infrastructure underlying the Food Surveys Research Group.

The research approach is to maintain and enhance the components of the USDA Dietary Intake Data System to assure that the dietary collection method, the USDA Automated Multiple Pass Method (AMPM), and the supporting systems and databases result in the collection of dietary data that are scientifically sound, accurate, and valid. The USDA AMPM is being used to collect 10,000 dietary recalls yearly in What We Eat In America, the dietary interview component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Food Surveys Research Group, having the lead responsibility for the dietary assessment component of NHANES, will assure that 1) the dietary collection method collects accurate data and is valid, 2) the data collected meet stakeholder needs and are released in a timely fashion, 3) the systems for data collection and processing are technologically advanced and efficient, 4) the dietary databases to support data analyses are scientifically sound and current so as to reflect the U.S. food supply at the time of data collection, and 5) the applications developed for collection and processing are made available to the fullest extent possible. Special purpose databases to support specialized research policy needs,including the MyPyramid Equivalents Database used to assess American diets in relation to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, will be developed and maintained. Temporary Approaches: Approach 1. Continue to review data sets for their completeness and accuracy. Continue to work with NCHS to monitor collection of dietary information, including electronic monitoring for second day collection. Approach 2: Identify knowledgeable individuals with expertise in information technologies to serve as consultants about future needs for evaluating essential and non-essential food components in the foods eaten by Americans. Approach 3. Change hardware and software as appropriate to ensure access to high quality information about the eating behaviors of Americans.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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