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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In response to a request of the Human Nutrition Information Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a committee was established under the auspices of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences to review the uses of the Nation- wide Food Consumption Surveys (NFCS) and make recommendations to facili- tate wider application of-the resulting survey data. The Committee also reviewed and made recommendations regarding the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a project of the National Center for Health Statistics of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This report, to those responsible for the surveys, contains the Committee's findings and recommendations. · This report records a wide variety of survey data uses. The surveys continue to be important to a multiplicity of users in govern- ment, the academic community, and industry. They cannot at present be merged or replaced by one survey. The Committee concludes that the present system of two separate national surveys should continue. · Depending on user needs, either NFCS or NHANES data are used. Each survey data base has distinct and important purposes of its own. In some instances, both data bases must be used together. For these pur- poses the present limited overlap of data from the two surveys con- tributes an important set of data points for data linkage between survey data bases. The Committee recommends that the two surveys continue to collect dietary intake data but that a common identical methodologic core in both surveys be developed and implemented. This should include both inclusion of an identical component of dietary intake data collection method and the same data base on the composition of foods. · Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the two surveys be better linked through compatible sampling and common population _ ~ , . descriptors. · The Committee believes that the NFCS Individual Dietary Intake component and the NHANES should be redesigned as continuous surve processes with continuous data reporting to ensure timely data release and reporting. The Household Food Use component of the NFCS should continue on a regular, intermittent basis, unless future study demonstrates that some other design (e.g., continuous) is more advantageous.
2 - . · In this report, the Committee recommends a series of technical improvements for implementation over both the shorter and the longer term, some of which will depend on the results of further research. The Committee believes one technical point to be particularly important, namely that the NFCS should continue to collect replicated data on food consumption and dietary intake of individuals. Because of the need for statistical information on intraindividual variability, resources should be committed to maintaining, at a minimum, NFCS collection of 3 data-days of individual intake from a representative sample of the U.S. population. · The Committee recommends a continuous evaluation process for the updating of design and methods for the surveys. In Appendix A the Com- mittee suggests a list of questions that should be addressed for each priority use to ensure that the surveys provide the prerequisite specificity and reliability of information for that use.