Assessment of dietary intake: 24/48- Hour dietary recall

Assessment of dietary intake: 24/48- Hour dietary recall
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Introduction: 24/48- Hour dietary recall

Assessment of dietary intake can be estimated through the use of various tools, which differ depending on study objectives, design, and resources. One way is to classify them into prospective and retrospective methods. Another way of classification is into the current diet and food/dietary habits.

The 24/48 hours recall method is a retrospective method. In this method, subjects are asked to recall the food intake during the previous 24 hours or 48 hour period or the preceding day(s). Detailed descriptions of all foods and beverages consumed, including, if possible, brand names and cooking methods, are recorded by the interviewer. Mineral and vitamin supplement use is also noted.

To cover a longer time period you can repeat the interviews, and thereby get a better estimate of the individual’s intake, so-called repeated 24/48 hour recalls. The recalls can also be performed as telephone interviews. The advantages of these methods are that they are simple, cheap and large sample size is possible to obtain. In addition, as with all retrospective methods, food habits are not affected by the methods. The disadvantages of these methods are that the interviewer can affect the result and if the recalls are not repeated, the time period will be too short to be able to obtain information on the individual level. People have good as well as a bad memory and the ability to estimate quantities vary. These factors affect the quality of the methods.

Example: Assessment of dietary intake through 24/48- Hour dietary recall method

One example of 24 hours of dietary recall and some equivalent macro and micronutrients of the food consumed is shown in the table below. (The example given is from a typical Indian diet. The weight/quantity of the food and different nutrients are from Indian Council for Medical Research standard so may vary according to country)

S.N Time Food Quantity (g) Energy


Protein (gm) Fat



(µg )



Folate (µg)
1 8:00am Poha (rice flakes) 100 349 7.2 9.1 32 0.94 1
2 Milk Milk 200 222 9 13 244 0.2 10
3 1:00pm Chapatis (2) (bread) 80 244 6.4 7.36 32 1.552 15.2
4 1:00pm Rice 200 210 3.6 0.4 48 0.54 6
5 1:00pm Kadhi * 200 20.5 0.4 1.85 84 0.04 1.5
6 1:00pm Capsicum 150 169.5 3.45 3.9 480 37.5 19.5
7 9:00pm Rajma (kidney beans) 150 84 3.15 4.35 96 0.27 3
8 9:00pm Rice 200 210 3.6 0.4 48 0.54 6
9 9:00pm Pear 300 112.56 1.08 0.81 39.48 0.84 15.84
Total 1580 1621.56 37.88 41.17 1103.48 42.422 78.04

*A dish containing yogurt, chickpea flour, vegetables, water








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  2.  Indian Food Composition Tables.
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