A longstanding challenge in nutrition and obesity research (and weight management) is the accurate and reliable measurement of energy balance – energy in & energy out. Historically, these variables have been assessed using different self-report or proxy-report tools, such as diaries, recalls, and surveys. When used to approximate intake and expenditure, most clinicians and researchers have held the view that, while imperfect, gathering some information was better than nothing. Well, that viewpoint is changing.
A recent paper by leaders in the field provides a compelling argument to stop relying on subjective, self-report tools and start adhering to a higher ideal to measure energy balance using objective methods that provide more confidence in the quality of the data being collected.
This directive may not be easy, convenient, or inexpensive, but it’s fundamentally important to advancing the science in this field and informing guidelines/recommendations for individuals and families.
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