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  • Half of women underreport by 800 calories

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 11:04 am Email this article
    Overweight women are more likely to under-report food intake than normal weight women according to a 1999 study of 436 healthy middle-aged British females, aged 39- to 70-years-old, with an average body mass index of 24 who were unaware of the intent of the study.

    Half of women (52 percent) underreported their calorie intake by an average of 872 calories or 36 percent.

    Under-reporters on average weighed 8 pounds more than those who did not underreport (143 pounds versus 135 pounds, respectively). Reporting of Fat Intake

    Fat intake under-reported by 38 grams per day, 338 calories per day

    Fat intake was underreported by 37.5 grams per day (57.5 grams reported versus 95 grams actual), the equivalent of underreporting 338 calories per day.

    Fat intake was underreported by 2 percent of calories by underreporters (32 percent versus 34 percent).


    Reporting of Carbohydrate Intake

    Carbohydrate intake under-reported by 110 grams per day, 440 calories per day

    Carbohydrate intake was underreported by 110 grams per day (193 versus 303 grams), the equivalent of underreporting 440 calories per day.


    Reporting of Sugar Intake

    Sugar intake under-reported by 55 grams per day, 220 calories per day

    Sugar intake was underreported by 55 grams per day (102 grams versus 157 grams), the equivalent of underreporting 220 calories per day.


    Reporting of Protein Intake

    Protein intake under-reported by 26 grams per day, 104 calories per day

    Protein intake was underreported by 26 grams (71 grams versus 97 grams), the equivalent of underreporting 104 calories per day.


    Reporting of Alcohol Intake

    Alcohol intake was not under-reported

    There was no significant difference in reported versus actual alcohol intake (6 grams per day versus 7 grams per day).



    Subjects: 30% overweight, 5% obese

    Thirty percent of the women were overweight and 5 percent were obese.

    Underreporters reported intake of all macronutrients including fat, carbohydrate and protein, and as a percent of calories underreported fat intake and overreported protein intake.



    Under-Reporters : 65% of obese women, 43% of normal weight women

    Up to 65 percent of obese women underreported calorie intake.

    No more than 43 percent of women with a BMI less than 25 underreported intake.

    Two-thirds (68 percent) of underreporters were found in the lowest one-third of reported food intake.



    Conclusions: Reported Low Calore Intake and Higher BMI Identified Underreporters

    The authors concluded that “A low reported [calorie intake] and greater BMI may help identify energy underreporters.”

    The authors also noted that in studies which have not excluded underreporters any relationships regarding nutrition and disease should be questioned.

    A previous review of 37 studies found that two-thirds of the groups studied (68 percent) reported calorie intake below the minimum requirement for survival based on their basal metabolic rate (Black et al, 1991).


    Samaras K; Kelly PJ; Campbell LV. Dietary underreporting is prevalent in middle-aged British women and is not related to adiposity (percentage body fat). International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 1999 Aug, 23(8):881-8.

    Black AE; Goldberg GR; Jebb SA; Livingstone MB; Cole TJ; Prentice AM. Critical evaluation of energy intake data using fundamental principles of energy physiology: 2. Evaluating the results of published surveys. Eur J Clin Nutr 1991 Dec; 45(12):583-99.

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