Dietary flavonoid intake in older adults: How many days of dietary assessment are required and what is the impact of seasonality?
Background: Within- and between-person variation in nutrient intake is well established, but little is known about variability in dietary flavonoid intake, including the effect of seasonality. Methods: Within- and between-individual variability of flavonoid intake, and intake of flavonoid subclasses was examined in older adults (n = 79; mean age 70.1 y (range: 60y-80y)), using three separate 4-day weighed food records (WFR) collected approximately 4 months apart. The effects of seasonality were also examined. Mixed-effects linear regression models were used to estimate within- and between-individual variance components for flavonoids and subclasses. The number of days of dietary assessment required for a high level of hypothetical accuracy was calculated from variance ratios. Results: Within- and between-individual variability was high for flavonoid intake, and intake of flavonoid subclasses, with variance ratios > 1. It was calculated that six days of WFR data are required for total flavonoid intake, and between 6 and 10 days was required for flavonoid subclasses. There was no effect of seasonality for total flavonoid intake or intake of flavonoid subclasses, with the exception that flavan-3-ol and flavanone intakes which were relatively low in summer, and in summer and winter, respectively. Conclusion: While the effects of seasonality on total flavonoid intake may be small, within- and between-individual variation associated with flavonoid intake assessment appears to be substantial across 12 days of WFR data in older adults. It is recommended that a minimum of 6 days of weighed food records are collected to minimise the impact of within- and between-individual variability on total flavonoid intake assessments in this population.