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Public Health Nutrition: 12(1), 29–35
Experimental approach to measuring functional food
consumption for risk factor surveillance
Sigrid Beer-Borst1,2,*, Michael C Costanza1 and Alfredo Morabia1,3
1Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Community Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva,
Switzerland: 2Bern University of Applied Sciences, Section of Health, Applied R&D in Nutrition and Dietetics,
Murtenstrasse 10, CH-3008 Bern, Switzerland: 3Center for the Biology of Natural Sciences, School of Earth and
Environmental Sciences, Queens College, City University of New York, New York, USA
Submitted 9 April 2007: Accepted 5 January 2008: First published online 7 March 2008
Objective: To develop and integrate the assessment of functional foods (FuF;
manufactured foods with altered composition carrying a health claim) con-
sumption into an existing risk factor surveillance system.
Design: FuF market research followed by an experimental FuF intake study
incorporated into an ongoing community-based survey. Concurrent completion
of a self-administered semi-quantitative FFQ and a self-administered, qualitative
FuF frequency questionnaire (FuFFQ) followed by a face-to-face control step
using FuF photographs and combined food group-based data analyses.
Setting: ‘Bus Santé’ risk factor surveillance programme, Geneva/Switzerland.
Subjects: Population-based random sample of 639 residents (52 % women, aged
35–74 years) surveyed from September 2003 to April 2004.
Results: Local Geneva/French neighbourhood market research identified 148 FuF
in five major FuF food groups which were compiled into a functional ingredient
database. Prior to the face-to-face verification, 210 (33 %) individuals categorized
themselves as FuF consumers, 429 (67 %) as non-consumers. The control step
revealed that 70 % of the 639 participants were already familiar with the FuF
concept, and thus were correctly self-categorized