Are food exposures obtained through commercial market panels representative of the general population? Implications for epidemiological studies
PHE ePoster Library. Inns T. Apr 9, 2019; 257493; 15371
Thomas Inns
Thomas Inns
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Abstract Background:
Current methods of control recruitment for case-control studies can be slow (a particular issue for outbreak investigations), resource-intensive and subject to a range of biases. Commercial market panels are a potential source of rapidly recruited controls. Our study aimed to evaluate food exposure data from these panel controls, compared to an established reference dataset.
Market panel data were collected from two companies using retrospective internet-based surveys; these were compared to reference data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which was collected prospectively using a paper-based diary. We collected exposure information for 71 foods. We used logistic regression to calculate adjusted Odds Ratios (aOR) to compare exposure to each food item between market panel and NDNS participants..
We compared 2,103 panel controls to 2,696 reference dataset participants. Adjusted for socio-demographic factors, exposure to 90% of foods was statistically different between both panels and the reference data. However, these differences were likely to be of limited practical importance (0.3< aOR Confidence Interval<3.0) for 89% of Panel A foods and 79% of Panel B foods. Panel controls reported less common foods such as tofu, chili, squid and beansprouts more frequently. Commonly consumed foods such as bread and milk were reported more frequently by reference participants. ConclusionsMarket panel food exposures were comparable to reference data for common food exposures but more likely to be different for uncommon exposures. This approach should be considered for outbreak investigation, in conjunction with other considerations such as population at risk, timeliness of response and study resources. Funding The research was funded by the the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Gastrointestinal Infections at University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with University of East Anglia, University of Oxford and the Quadram Institute.
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