Objective: To investigate if the addition of an in-depth interview focused on cultural dietary practices could improve the quality of dietary data from food records among South Asian women in New Zealand.
Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected from 134 South Asian women (≥20 years), living in Auckland. Dietary data were collected using four-day food records. Nutritional analysis revealed 33.6% under-reporting of energy intakes. All women were recalled for an in-depth probing interview focused on culture-specific foods and dietary practices.
Results: The interview revealed extensive use of dairy products and plant oils. The nutrient content of the food record alone and the food record plus interview were compared; median energy intakes were 6,852 kJ vs 7,246 kJ (p<0.001); under-reporting decreased by 14.2%, and total fat and protein intakes (g/day) increased (p<0.001). Estimates of poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids increased significantly (p<0.001) due to greater use of plant oils due to greater use of plant oils replacing saturated fatty acid-rich fats in food preparation. A significant increase (17%) (p<0.001) in calcium intake reflects the higher dairy intake identified with the interview.
Conclusion: The addition of an in-depth probing interview to a four-day food record enhanced food intake reporting. Self-reported dietary assessments in immigrant population groups require quality control for accuracy.
Implications: Methods to ensure high-quality dietary data are essential to assess health outcomes and to inform public health interventions, especially in immigrant populations.