Development and implementation of a method to assess food and nutrient intakes in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study

Paula J. Robson, Octavie Choisy, Maxine P. Bonham, Emeir M. Duffy, Julie M.W. Wallace, Christina D. Esther, J. J. Strain, M. Barbara E. Livingstone

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Foods and nutrients may influence methyl mercury (MeHg) absorption and / or metabolism in humans. Consequently, epidemiological studies of MeHg exposure should assess dietary habits. The aim of this paper is to describe the development, implementation and preliminary results of the dietary assessment method used in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS). A researcher from the University of Ulster (UU) visited Seychelles to consult with health professionals, and to ascertain the types of foods typically eaten, population characteristics, and potential study resources. Consequently, it was decided that a four- day food diary should be implemented, in conjunction with a ‘food use questionnaire’ (FUQ). Piloting confirmed this approach to be feasible. Diet was assessed in women (n = 282) at 28 weeks gestation. Following FUQ completion, subjects used the food diary to record every item of food / drink that they consumed for four consecutive days (Thursday-Sunday inclusive). Completed diaries were reviewed by project nurses, and quality control was undertaken by the Nutrition Unit (Ministry of Health, Seychelles). Diary processing is ongoing at UU. Of the women who completed the FUQ, only two (0.7%) reported that they had not consumed any fish or fish products in the two weeks prior to questionnaire completion. Fish consumption was high (median, 8.5 fish meals/week; 5th percentile, 3.0 fish meals/week; 95th percentile 15.0 fish meals/week). Karang was the fish most commonly consumed, followed by barracuda, snapper and mackerel. The results of the SCDNS should help to ascertain whether maternal food / nutrient intakes during pregnancy can influence MeHg exposures in mothers and their offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-330
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • fish consumption
  • food intake
  • methyl mercury
  • Seychelles

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