Joy Hutchinson is a PhD student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Her research is focused in improving dietary assessment methodology applications to health and equity. She is a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto. Her Master’s work focused on assessing the association between nutritional adequacy and food security status among Canadians.
Dietary screeners assess consumption of a limited number of foods and/or beverages over a given period of time. While screeners have limitations (as do all self-report measures), with appropriate implementation and interpretation, they can provide quick, useful information about eating patterns in a range of settings, including public health, community, and clinical. The objectives of this project are to develop and test a screener to assess alignment of eating patterns with the ‘what to eat’ recommendations within Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) and to develop guidance for its appropriate use. The target population is adults aged 18-65 years with marginal or higher health literacy. The screener is intended for self-administration in less than 10 minutes and will be available in English and French. Considerations include how best to reflect CFG’s emphasis on proportionality, achieving balance between a more comprehensive versus a more parsimonious screener, and how to reflect diverse eating patterns within the population. The screener is informed by consultation with experts and cognitive testing with adults, with oversampling of individuals with lower literacy. The draft screener will be evaluated in English and French among adults who will also complete 24-hour recalls. Screener scores will be compared to scores on a ‘what to eat’ index and other markers of alignment to CFG, such as intake of highly processed foods. Test-retest reliability will also be assessed. A well-evaluated screener will provide insights into the extent of alignment of Canadians’ eating patterns with CFG in a range of settings.