Validation of energy intake by dietary recall against different methods to assess energy expenditure


E. Forsum,
Division of Nutrition,
Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, University of Linkoping,
SE-58185 Linkoping,
Tel.: +46 13 22 47 43
Fax: +46 13 22 47 40


Objectives  To compare the validity of dietary recalls and physical activity recalls and investigate some factors influencing this validity. To provide an example showing how procedures based on recalls of physical activity can assess the validity of dietary recalls and identify subjects constantly underreporting their energy intake (EI).

Design and subjects  Thirty-seven women were studied using three 24-h dietary recalls, two kinds of physical activity recalls, indirect calorimetry and the doubly labelled water method.

Results  The EI obtained using dietary recalls were biased with respect to body mass index (BMI) and attitudes towards body weight and dieting, whereas results obtained using a physical activity recall were not. Eighteen women produced underreports (UR), i.e. their average EI was below 76% of total energy expenditure (TEE), whereas 24 women reported an EI that was lower than TEE on all three recall days, i.e. constantly underreporting subjects. A physical activity recall identified 13 URs and 20 of the constantly underreporting subjects.

Conclusions  In contrast to estimates of EI, TEE assessed using physical activity recalls was not biased with respect to BMI or attitudes towards body weight and dieting. Recalls of physical activity represent potentially useful procedures for identifying URs and constantly underreporting subjects but are not accurate enough for individuals.