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Public Health


Objective: Because the percentage of missing portion sizes was large in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), careful consideration of the accuracy of standard portion sizes was necessary. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the consequences of using standard portion size instead of reported portion sizes on subjects' nutrient intake.

Methods: In 2307 men and 411 women, nutrient intake calculated from a 3-day dietary record using reported portion sizes was compared with nutrient intake calculated from the same record in which standard portion sizes were substituted for reported portion sizes.

Results: The standard portion sizes provided significantly lower estimates (≥ 20%) of energy and nutrient intakes than the reported portion sizes. Spearman correlation coefficients obtained by the two methods were high, ranging from 0.67 to 0.93. Furthermore, the agreement between both methods was fairly good. Thus, in the ACLS the use of standard portion sizes rather than reported portion sizes did not appear to be suitable to assess the absolute intake at the group level, but appeared to lead to a good ranking of individuals according to nutrient intake. These results were confirmed by the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII), in which the assessment of the portion size was optimal. When the standard portion sizes were adjusted using the correction factor, the ability of the standard portion sizes to assess the absolute nutrient intake at the group level was considerably improved.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the adjusted standard portion sizes may be able to replace missing portion sizes in the ACLS database.


Welten, D. C., Carpenter, R. A., McPherson, R. S., Brodney, S., Douglass, D., Kampert, J. B., & Blair, S. N. (2000). Comparison of a dietary record using reported portion size versus standard portion size for assessing nutrient intake. Public Health Nutrition, 3(2), 151-158.

© Public Health Nutrition, 2000, Nutrition Society

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