Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Food Frequency Questionnaires Suck Say Who's Who of Obesity Researchers

Hot off the heels of my blog post about giant pears, last week a letter to the editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was published. It was signed by some very familiar names in obesity research and its title is also its summary, "Self-report-based estimates of energy intake offer an inadequate basis for scientific conclusions".

The letter was triggered by a recently reported and heavily publicized study that suggested energy intake has decreased significantly since 2003-2004 - with an average reported decrease of 98 cals/day. The letter's authors note that the data used to come up with the exciting decrease has been shown to be flawed before, and moreover, that it would appear as if bias in reporting of energy intake may be increasing (perhaps due to increased attention and bias versus those with obesity). They also note that were it in fact true the population ought to have lost an average of nearly 8lbs since 2003.

Their final conclusion is firm and one I agree with in regard to studies designed to look at ways to prevent or treat obesity,
"Going forward we should accept that self reported energy intake is fatally flawed and we should stop publishing inaccurate and misleading energy intake data."


Dale Schoeller
Steven Blair
Steven Heymsfield
David Allison
James Hill
Richard Atkinson
Barbara Corkey
Nikhil Dhurandhar
Eric Ravussin
Kevin Hall
John Kral
John Foreyt
Diana Thomas
Edward Archer
Michael Goran
Berit Heitmann
Barbara Hansen
[And for good measure, up above is another of my collection of photos of gigantic fruit - this time a 10oz plum bigger than an apple.]