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Assessing individual dietary intake from common-plate meals: a new tool for an enduring practice

  • Kathleen Abu-Saad (a1), Danit R Shahar (a1), Heiger Abu-Shareb (a2), Hillel Vardi (a1), Natalya Bilenko (a1) (a3) and Drora Fraser (a1)...

The purposes of the present study were to estimate individual intake from common-plate meals among Bedouin Arabs using a modified 24 h recall questionnaire, and to evaluate reported energy intake (EI) by comparison with estimated energy requirement (EER).


Weighed records were used to develop a method of quantifying intake from common plates. Reported EI and nutrient intakes were obtained from administration of the modified 24 h recall. The relative standard error (RSE) was used to evaluate the reliability of reported nutrient intakes. The FAO/WHO/United Nations University and Oxford equations and reported physical activity levels were used to compute ratios of reported EI to BMR and EER.


Population centres of traditionally semi-nomadic Bedouin Arabs undergoing sedentarization/urbanization in southern Israel.


A convenience sample of 451 adults (aged 19–82 years).


Mean (se) energy intake was 9648 (276) kJ/d (2306 (66) kcal/d) for men and 8230 (172) kJ/d (1967 (41) kcal/d) for women, of which carbohydrates accounted for 63–64 %. The nutrient intakes evaluated had RSE ratios of less than 25 %. EI:EER ratios ranged from 0·86 to 0·89, and from 0·87 to 0·93 among non-dieters who ate the usual amount on the recall day.


The modified 24 h recall produced plausible estimates of energy and nutrient intakes, comparable to those obtained with the 24 h recall in other populations. The modified questionnaire makes an important contribution to facilitating large-scale nutritional surveillance in the Bedouin population, and may serve as a model for modifying dietary instruments to quantify individual intake in other populations that practise common-plate eating.

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