INTERMAP: The dietary data - Process and quality control

B. Dennis, J. Stamler*, M. Buzzard, R. Conway, P. Elliott, A. Moag-Stahlberg, A. Okayama, N. Okuda, C. Robertson, F. Robinson, S. Shakel, M. Stevens, N. Van Heel, L. Zhao, B. F. Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The aim of this report is to describe INTERMAP standardized procedures for assessing dietary intake of 4680 individuals from 17 population samples in China, Japan, UK and USA: Based on a common Protocol and Manuals of Operations, standardized collection by centrally trained certified staff of four 24 h dietary recalls, two timed 24-h urines, two 7-day histories of daily alcohol intake per participant; tape recording of all dietary interviews, and use of multiple methods for ongoing quality control of dietary data collection and processing (local, national, and international); one central laboratory for urine analyses; review, update, expansion of available databases for four countries to produce comparable data on 76 nutrients for all reported foods; use of these databases at international coordinating centres to compute nutrient composition. Chinese participants reported 2257 foods; Japanese, 2931; and UK, 3963. In US, use was made of 17000 food items in the online automated Nutrition Data System. Average time/ recall ranged from 22 min for China to 31 min for UK. Among indicators of dietary data quality, coding error rates (from receding 10% random samples of recalls) were 2.3% for China, 1.4% for Japan, and UK; an analogous US procedure (re-entry of recalls into computer from tape recordings) also yielded low discrepancy rates. Average scores on assessment of taped dietary interviews were high, 40.4 (Japan) to 45.3 (China) (highest possible score: 48); correlations between urinary and dietary nutrient values-similar for men and women-were, for all 4680 participants, 0.51 for total protein, range across countries 0.40-0.52; 0.55 for potassium, range 0.30-0.58; 0.42 for sodium, range 0.33-0.46. The updated dietary databases are valuable international resources. Dietary quality control procedures yielded data generally indicative of high quality performance in the four countries. These procedures were time consuming. Ongoing recoding of random samples of recalls is deemed essential. Use of tape recorded dietary interviews contributed to quality control, despite feasibility problems, deemed remediable by protocol modification. For quality assessment, use of correlation data on dietary and urinary nutrient values yielded meaningful findings, including evidence of special difficulties in assessing sodium intake by dietary methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-622
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of human hypertension
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary data
  • Epidermology
  • International population study
  • Methods
  • Quality control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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