The mission of the NRG is to facilitate high quality nutrition research throughout MD Anderson and the research community.
The NRG provides expertise to investigators interested in conducting human epidemiologic and intervention studies. We provide support through all stages of study development, from proposal to publication. The NRG can assist with the many considerations related to research questions, study design and sample size, population demographics, research tool selection and development, data analysis and interpretation, and budgetary constraints.
We provide expertise and consultation for the following:
- Dietary assessment tools and analytic methodology
- Interviewer training
- Biomarkers of intake and gene-diet interactions
- Obesity surveillance, using the WHO and NIH anthropometric protocols
- Physical activity data collection
Dietary Data Collection Methods
For a succinct overview of dietary data collection methods, click here.
Food Frequency Questionnaire
The Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), or Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ), is a standardized food list, which aims to typify usual intake over a specified period; often one year. The FFQ may or may not ask portion-related questions. Examples include the Harvard and Arizona FFQs.
The 24-hour dietary recall (24HR) attempts to capture all foods, food additions, and beverages that the participant consumed in the previous day, or 24 hour period. This method typically utilizes a software system with standard probes, and is administered by a trained interviewer. The NRG utilizes NDSR; a database consisting of more than 18,000 foods and 163 nutrients and food components. The NCI has developed a web-based version of the 24HR, known as the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour recall, or ASA-24, which is available to researchers for a nominal cost. Both NDSR and ASA-24 utilize a multiple pass method for collecting 24HR. More detail regarding the multiple pass method can be viewed on USDA's website.
Although more sophisticated methods exist, diet records (DR) are often recorded by participants using a standardized paper form. DRs attempt to capture all foods, food additions, and beverages consumed by a participant for at least one day, but typically no greater than 3-4 days. Portions are usually weighed, estimated (using food pictures or models), or measured (using measuring utensils). The DR is considered one of the most exact measures of actual individual intake, and is one of the most popular methods for changing diet behavior.
We can also assist with the selection and administration of cost-effective, objective, and previously validated measures of self-reported physical activity. To better understand the relationship between physical activity and cancer, it is necessary to be able to accurately assess the type of activity, frequency, duration, and intensity level. These variables, along with the Metabolic Equivalent of Task, or MET reference values, can be used to estimate a weighted measure of total physical activity. In addition to leisure-time activities, sports, and “intentional exercise,” modern physical activity assessment tools should also include activity derived from transportation, occupation, and household tasks, as well as time spent in sedentary activities (e.g., sitting in front of the computer or TV) and sleep.
Nutrition Research Group
Department of Epidemiology, Unit 1340
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
P.O. Box 301439
Houston, Texas 77230
For delivery of packages
1155 Pressler St., Unit 1340
Houston, Texas 77030
Contact Individual NRG Group Members
- Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Gladys Browman
- Huyen Tran