Open Access
February 2014 Estimating the Distribution of Dietary Consumption Patterns
Raymond J. Carroll
Statist. Sci. 29(1): 2-8 (February 2014). DOI: 10.1214/12-STS413


In the United States the preferred method of obtaining dietary intake data is the 24-hour dietary recall, yet the measure of most interest is usual or long-term average daily intake, which is impossible to measure. Thus, usual dietary intake is assessed with considerable measurement error. We were interested in estimating the population distribution of the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005), a multi-component dietary quality index involving ratios of interrelated dietary components to energy, among children aged 2–8 in the United States, using a national survey and incorporating survey weights. We developed a highly nonlinear, multivariate zero-inflated data model with measurement error to address this question. Standard nonlinear mixed model software such as SAS NLMIXED cannot handle this problem. We found that taking a Bayesian approach, and using MCMC, resolved the computational issues and doing so enabled us to provide a realistic distribution estimate for the HEI-2005 total score. While our computation and thinking in solving this problem was Bayesian, we relied on the well-known close relationship between Bayesian posterior means and maximum likelihood, the latter not computationally feasible, and thus were able to develop standard errors using balanced repeated replication, a survey-sampling approach.


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Raymond J. Carroll. "Estimating the Distribution of Dietary Consumption Patterns." Statist. Sci. 29 (1) 2 - 8, February 2014.


Published: February 2014
First available in Project Euclid: 9 May 2014

zbMATH: 1332.62406
MathSciNet: MR3201840
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/12-STS413

Keywords: Bayesian methods , dietary assessment , latent variables , measurement error , mixed models , nutritional epidemiology , nutritional surveillance , zero-inflated data

Rights: Copyright © 2014 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.29 • No. 1 • February 2014
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