Background and objective: To provide an overview of methods used to assess food and nutrient intake, nutritional knowledge and diet-related attitudes in the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross-Sectional Study (HELENA-CSS), with selected results from the feasibility study.
Material and Methods: To assess food intake in 13- to 16-year-old adolescents, a previously developed computer-assisted and self-administered 24-h recall was adapted for international use. Food consumption data were linked to national food composition databases to calculate energy and nutrient intakes. To assess nutritional knowledge in pupils not having any special (trained) education concerning 'nutrition', a 23-item validated multiple choice questionnaire was adapted. To assess eating attitudes, behaviour and/or putative problems with body weight in adolescents, a validated inventory covering 60 questions or statements was adapted for the study. In a feasibility study, instruments, data collection and processing were tested in one school class in each of the 10 participating European cities.
Results and Conclusions: The feasibility study provided plausible results, quite consistent between countries. Against this background and for the first time, standardized and uniform methodology was made available for the main study to assess and characterize dietary intake, nutritional knowledge and eating attitudes.
Bibliographical noteSpecial issue: Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence
(HELENA) Study: Methodological aspects