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Keywords:

  • diet history;
  • anorexia nervosa;
  • observed food intake

Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the accuracy of diet history compared to observed food intake in the nutritional assessment of women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and healthy age-matched controls.

Method

One-month diet history was compared to 1-day observed food intake in 30 women with AN and 28 control subjects.

Results

Reported intake by diet history was similar to observed intake for macronutrient composition and fat intake for patients with AN. Reported energy intake was higher than observed intake (1,602 ± 200 kcal vs. 1,289 ± 150 kcal, p < .05), but was in agreement with predicted energy expenditure by the Harris-Benedict equation (1,594 ± 18 kcal, p = .97) in patients with AN. Micronutrient intake by diet history was highly correlated with observed intake in patients with AN. More than one half of the patients with AN failed to meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, and copper when assessed by diet history. In contrast to patients with AN, diet history did not correlate with observed intake of energy, macronutrients, or most micronutrients among the controls.

Discussion

Diet history is an accurate tool to assess fat intake and macronutrient composition in patients with AN and demonstrates significant micronutrient deficiencies in this population. The agreement between total energy intake and predicted energy expenditure supports the overall utility of the diet history in the nutritional assessment of patients with AN. © 2000 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 28: 284–292, 2000.