Diet, physical activity, and anthropometric profiles are key determinants of non-communicable diseases and related conditions with high public health burden, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Accurate and appropriate methods of dietary assessment, physical activity assessment and anthropometry are required for multiple purposes, including but not limited to the following:
Methodological studies have advanced new and improved methods to assess diet, physical activity and anthropometric markers, including self-reported and objective measurements. However, information on how best to conduct measurements accurately and precisely in population health studies is not readily available. This can deter researchers, particularly those who are non-specialist in these areas, from including such assessment in their research. Or, they may choose suboptimal methods or instruments for their setting or population under study. Other than issues of feasibility and costs, there may be several explanations for this, such as:
This toolkit aims to fill this gap by bringing together a web-based resource to facilitate dietary assessment, anthropometry and physical activity assessment.
We hope you will find the toolkit easy to navigate and self-explanatory. The toolkit includes:
The MRC Population Health Sciences Research Network funded the initial development of a web-based toolkit of methodologies to measure diet and physical activity; this became known as the "DAPA toolkit" (Diet And Physical Activity) and was hosted on an MRC domain (www.dapa-toolkit.mrc.ac.uk/).
We are grateful to all experts who have contributed to the development of all versions of the toolkit.