Rationalisation of the UK Nutrient Databank for Incorporation in a Web-Based Dietary Recall for Implementation in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme.
Nutrients 2022 ; 14: .
DOI : 10.3390/nu14214551
PubMed ID : 36364812
PMCID : PMC9658736
The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme (NDNS RP) commenced in 2008 and moved in 2019 from a traditional paper food diary to a web-based 24 h recall, Intake24. This paper describes the approach to update and downsize the underlying UK Nutrient Databank (NDB) for efficient data management and integration into Intake24. Consumption data from the first 10 years (2008/2009 to 2017/2018) of NDNS RP informed decisions on whether foods from the extensive UK NDB were to be retained, excluded, revised or added to for creation of a rationalised NDB. Overall, 5933 food codes in the extensive NDB were reduced to 2481 food codes in the rationalised NDB. Impact on assessment of nutrient intakes was evaluated by re-coding NDNS 2017 data using the rationalised NDB. Small differences were observed between estimated intakes (Cohen's ≤ 0.1) for all nutrients and there was a good level of agreement (Cohen's κ ≥ 0.6) between the extensive and rationalised NDBs. The evaluation provides confidence in dietary intake estimates for ongoing nutritional surveillance in the UK and strengthens the evidence of a good agreement between concise food databases and large food databases incorporated into web-based 24 h recalls for estimating nutrient intakes at the population level.
The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) is an ongoing study that assesses food consumption and nutrient intakes in the UK. The NDNS helps identify nutritional issues which can be addressed to ultimately improve the health of the UK population. In the past few years, data collection for this survey switched from a paper-based food diary, to Intake24 (https://intake24.org/): an online tool where participants can record their food intake. Behind Intake24, sits the UK Nutrient Databank (NDB), a database containing food and nutrient values for foods consumed in UK. Regular updates to the NDB are undertaken to ensure that values are accurate and up to date so that the dietary data from the survey is of good quality.
Why was the work undertaken?
Over the years, the NDB has grown unsystematically as many new foods have been added, and it also needed to be adapted to integrate into Intake24. Therefore, rationalisation was necessary.
What was done?
Using a systematic approach, we reviewed each food in the NDB to determine whether it should be retained, excluded or represented by another food. The rationalisation process reduced the size of the NDB from 5933 foods to 2481, including addition of 150 new foods. This reduction means that the NDB can be maintained more efficiently for Intake24.
In order to check the impact of this work, we took one year of the NDNS dietary data, which used the old food diary method and recalculated the nutrient values using the new rationalised, reduced number of NDB foods.
What was the outcome?
When we compared against the original data, the differences seen in nutrient intake estimates were small, indicating that the rationalised NDB was still effective and would cause minimal impact on dietary intake data which is important for monitoring dietary trends and continuation of the national time series dataset. The results also show that concise food databases are as efficient as larger food databases when incorporated into web-based 24 h recalls for estimating populations’ nutrient intakes. The detail of the rationalisation methodology will be useful to those involved in the food data management.
Figure 1. Key factors considered for reviewing foods relevant for inclusion in the rationalised NDB.
1 Dietary intake data from the first 10 years of NDNS RP (2008–2018) were examined.
2 Detail required for government monitoring objectives for public health.
3 Relevance to specific UK public health priorities (e.g., UK sugar reduction policy).
4 Coverage and representation of foods and drinks currently available in UK.
5 Availability of products in the UK market: removing foods that no longer exist in UK food market.
6 Popularity of food brands: retaining very popular brand-specific foods.
7 Foods that are common ingredients for homemade recipes in the UK diet.