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Open Access Research

Validation of digital photographs, as a tool in 24-h recall, for the improvement of dietary assessment among rural populations in developing countries

Claudia E Lazarte12*, Ma Eugenia Encinas3, Claudia Alegre3 and Yvonne Granfeldt1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Food Technology, Lund University, P.O. Box 124, Lund 221 00, Sweden

2 Food and Natural Products Center, San Simon University, Cochabamba, Bolivia

3 Departament of Nutrition, San Simon University, Cochabamba, Bolivia

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Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:61  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-61

Published: 29 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Improvement of traditional methods for dietary assessment is necessary, especially in rural areas where it is more difficult to succeed with self-reporting methods. This study presents and validates a method for improving accuracy when measuring food and nutrient intake of individuals in rural areas. It is called the “Food photography 24-h recall method” (FP 24-hR) and is a modified 24-h recall with the addition of a digital food photography record and a photo atlas.

Methods

The study was carried out in a rural area in the tropical region of Bolivia; 45 women participated. Validation of the method was made by comparing it with a reference method, the Weighed Food Record (WFR). During the FP 24-hR, digital photographs were taken by the subjects of all food consumed during a day and a 24-h recall questionnaire was conducted by an interviewer. An estimate of the amount of food consumed was made using a photo atlas and the photographs taken by the subjects. For validation, comparison was made between the calculations, by both methods, of the levels of food, and nutrient, intake.

Results

The comparison was made in 10 food categories; most of which were somewhat underestimated from −2.3% (cassava) to −6.8% (rice), except for beverages (+1.6%) and leafy vegetables (+8.7%), which were overestimated. Spearman’s correlation coefficients were highly significant (r from 0.75 for eggs to 0.98 for potato and cassava). Nutrient intakes calculated with data from both methods showed small differences from -0.90% (vitamin C) to -5.98% (fat). Although all nutrients were somewhat underestimated, Pearsons coefficients are high (>0.93 for all) and statistically significant. Bland Altman analysis showed that differences between both methods were random and did not exhibit any systematic bias over levels of food and nutrient intake, with acceptable 95% limits of agreement.

Conclusion

The FP 24-hR exhibits acceptable differences when compared with a WFR, digital photos are useful as a memory aid for the subjects during 24-h recall and as an estimation tool. The method is suitable for assessing dietary intake among rural populations in developing countries.

Keywords:
Weighed record; 24-h recall; Digital photographs; Photo atlas; Developing countries