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1 INTRODUCTION This chapter provides the background and mandate for the Committee's study and report as specified in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Information Service Grant No. 59-3198-2-52,1 as amended. BACKGROUND The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has conducted six national food consumption surveys since 1936-1937. The first four were concerned primarily with measuring household food consumption or, more explicitly, with the disappearance of foods from household supplies during a 7-day period. In 1965-1966, the survey was expanded to include 1-day intakes of individuals in the sampled households. The 1977-1978 survey undertook to record both household food use data and 3-day food intake of individuals. At the request of the Congress, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have cooperated to develop a National Nutrition Monitoring Sys tem, which wit 1 coordinate the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (NFCS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). It is anticipated that future large-scale food consumption surveys will differ substantially from earlier ones, although they will be linked to past studies so as to permit analyses of trends in U.S. food consumption. Data derived from national surveys of food consumption are used by number of federal agencies, particularly regulatory agencies, by the nutrition and health communities, by industry, and by the Congress. These data provide information on adequacy of food and nutrient intakes in the United States and on trends in food consumption. Both kinds of information serve as a basis for monitoring the food supply and for predicting, insofar as practicable, the safety aspects and economic implications of changes in food use. In light of the collaborative arrangement set up by USDA and DHHS, it -is now appropriate to address such questions as : o What are the most critical issues on which to seek data? O In what form and with what content can data best be collected if they are to serve future users effectively?
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- 10 - FOOD AND NUTRITION BOARD RESPONSE In response to the request of the USDA Human Nutrition Information Service, a Coordinating Committee on Evaluation of Food Consumption Surveys was established under the auspices of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) in the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences to review ways in which national survey data on food consumption are used and to make recommendations on survey design that would facilitate wider application of these data. Committee members chosen to conduct the study included persons knowledgeable in food consumption, surveys, economics, epidemiology, statistical analysis, marketing research, survey data use, and analysis of the composition of foods. INCREASE IN SCOPE OF WORK - DHHS, acting through the National Center for Health Statistics, has conducted two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), the first in 1971-1974 and the second in 1976-1980. These surveys developed information on nutritional status through medical histories, dietary interviews, physicians' examinations, medical procedures and biochemical tests, and body measurements of adults and children in the Ue S ~ population. Shortly after the USDA study began, the DHHS National Center for Health Statistics asked to participate in the examination of uses of national survey data on food consumption. Amending the grant to assess two separate surveys, each with unique purposes and designs, increased the complexity of the Committee's task. Nevertheless, the Committee believed that the benefit to be gained by an integrated and cooperative study outweighed the extra effort. Because both the review and information-gathering parts of the study were in the early stages of planning, a limited addition to the scope was deemed feasible. Thus, within the framework of the original grant to study the Household Food Use and Individual Dietary Intake components of the NFCS, an amendments incorporated assessment of and recommendations related to the dietary component of the NHANES. PLAN OF ACT TEN The Committee's work was to be carried out in two stages: ~ Identification of data most needed by users of survey results from the NFCS and from the dietary component of the NHANES and e~tab- lishment of priorities for future surveys that will meet those needs.
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— 11 — · Formulation of recommendations for survey strategies and methods that will provide specificity and reliability of information adequate to satis fy those priorities . The work of the Committee was to be carried out in part through a workshop and a symposium that brought together current and potential users of survey data from the NFCS and from the dietary component of the NHANES. After developing and conducting the workshop and symposium, the Committee was to evaluate the information obtained therefrom, identify specific user needs, and make recommendations on how to meet those needs through a continuing monitoring of food consumption. SCOPE OF THE REPORT - This report, to those responsible for the surveys, describes the study and contains the Committee's evaluations, findings, and recom- mendations relative to the NFCS and the dietary component of the NHANES. Chapters 2 and 3 describe the most recent NFCS and NHANES, respectively. Chapter 4 describes the Committee's study process, identifies current and potential data uses and user needs, and presents some of the priority needs of users that were identified by the Committee. Chapter 5 provides a Committee perspective on the conjoint use of the NFCS and NHANES data bases in an important application, a system of nationwide food and nutrition monitoring. Chapter 6 contains the Committee recommendations likely to be implemented in the near term, and Chapter 7 the recom- mendations anticipated to be implemented over a longer-term. Appendix A suggests a process whereby the survey agencies can continue to evaluate future user needs, and Appendixes B and C provide agendas and participant lists for the project's workshop and symposium. Although this report includes some discussion of food and nutrition monitoring as related to the NFCS and the dietary component of the NHANES, its primary focus is not the far broader issue of food and nutrition monitoring, itself. This broader issue, which involves exam- ination of the surveys in the context of national programs and policies, was beyond the scope of the Committee's charge.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: