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Discrepancies between ecological and individual data on fruit and vegetable consumption in fifteen countries

Cambridge University Press
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  • Ecology
  • Medicine


Although food supply statistics are commonly used in ecological studies of diet and disease, little information is available on how they compare with reported intakes of foods. The objective of the present study was to compare fruit and vegetable availability with estimates of national mean intakes derived from national food consumption surveys. Food availability statistics from the FAO were used. For each country, mean national supply, based on at least 3 years of FAO data, was calculated. National estimates of mean fruit and vegetable intakes were derived from population-based surveys from fifteen countries, gathered for the World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease Study revision for 2000. Extrapolations were made when survey data did not cover all age groups. For each country, the FAO:survey estimate ratio was calculated. This ratio ranged from 0.93 to 2.70 (median value=1.39). Although there was a tendency for FAO data to overestimate intakes (fourteen out of fifteen countries), the degree of overestimation varied greatly among the countries included in this study (5-270 %). As food supply statistics are the only source of information on dietary patterns in most countries of the world, further information on how they reflect food intakes is needed. Obtaining detailed and valid estimates of dietary intakes in more countries around the world will be essential for such comparisons.

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