How dietary intake methodology is adapted for use in European immigrant population groups – a review.

Fecha de publicación


Dietary intake, ethnic groups, Europe, immigrants y methods


Immigrants comprise a noteworthy segment of the European population whose numbers are increasing. Research on the dietary habits of immigrants is critical for correctly providing diet counselling and implementing effective interventions. The aim of the present study was to identify the presently used methods and adaptations required for measuring dietary intake in European immigrant groups. A comprehensive review strategy included a structured MEDLINE search, related references and key expert consultations. The review targeted adults from non-European union (European union-15 countries) ethnic groups having the largest populations in Europe. As studies evaluating nutrient intake were scarce, papers evaluating intake at the level of foods were included. Forty-six papers were selected. Although Eastern Europe, Turkey, Africa (North, Sub-Saharan and Afro-Caribbean), Asia and Latin America represented the most numerous immigrant groups, papers on dietary intake were not available for all populations. Interview-administered FFQ and repeated 24 hour recalls were the most frequently applied instruments. Inclusion of ethnic foods and quantification of specific portion sizes of traditional foods and dishes in assessment tools as well as food composition databases were commonly identified problems. For FFQ, food list elaboration required particular consideration to reflect key ethnic foods and relative contribution to nutrient intake. Extra efforts were observed to overcome cultural barriers to study participation. Evaluating dietary intake of immigrant populations requires special attention to various methodological aspects (sampling, recruiting, instruments used, method of administration, food composition database, acculturation, etc.) so as to adequately address the range of socio-cultural factors inherent in these nutritionally at risk target groups.