Selection of key foods for the systematic management of a food and nutrient composition database

  • Shim, Jee-Seon (Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine) ;
  • Lee, Jung-Sug (Department of Food and Nutrition, Kookmin University) ;
  • Kim, Ki Nam (Department of Food and Nutrition, Daejeon University) ;
  • Lee, Hyun Sook (Department of Science and Nutrition, Dongseo University) ;
  • Kim, Hye Young (Department of Food and Nutrition, Yongin University) ;
  • Chang, Moon-Jeong (Department of Food and Nutrition, Kookmin University)
  • Received : 2017.05.29
  • Accepted : 2017.09.27
  • Published : 2017.12.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Food composition databases are necessary for assessing dietary intakes. Developing and maintaining a high quality database is difficult because of the high cost of analyzing nutrient profiles and the recent fast-changing food marketplace. Thus, priorities have to be set for developing and updating the database. We aimed to identify key foods in the Korean diet to set priorities for future analysis of foods. SUBJECTS/METHODS: The food consumption data of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2013-2014 were used. We modified the US Department of Agriculture's key food approach. First, major foods were analyzed, contributing to 75%, 80%, 85%, or 90% of each nutrient intake. Second, the cumulative contributions to nutrient intakes were compared before and after excluding the foods least commonly consumed by individuals. Third, total nutrient score for each food was calculated by summing all percent contributions times 100 for nutrients. To set priorities among the foods in the list, we sorted the score in descending order and then compared total percent contributions of foods, within the 100, 90, 85, 80, and 75 percentiles of the list. Finally, we selected the minimum list of foods contributing to at least 90% of the key nutrient intake as key items for analysis. RESULTS: Among the 1,575 foods consumed by individuals, 456 were selected as key foods. Those foods were chosen as items above the 80 percentile of the total nutrient score, among the foods contributing at least 85% of any nutrient intake. On an average, the selected key foods contributed to more than 90% of key nutrient intake. CONCLUSIONS: In total, 456 foods, contributing at least 90% of the key nutrient intake, were selected as key foods. This approach to select a minimum list of key foods will be helpful for systematically updating and revising food composition databases.


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