Development of a food composition database to study complementary feeding: An Italian experience

Federica Concina, Claudia Carletti, Paola Pani, Alessandra Knowles, Fabio Barbone, Maria Parpinel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food Composition Databases (FCDBs) are important tools for epidemiological research, public health nutrition and education, clinical practice and nutrition declaration on food labels. The aim of this paper is to describe the methodology used to compile a FCDB for the analysis on the dietary intake of an Italian cohort of infants, and to assess its strengths and weaknesses. Dietary data were collected using a 3-DD records compiled at 6, 9 and 12 months of age of the infants. We developed a FCDB that contains data from the Italian and the USDA food composition databases and other sources. Our FCDB includes 563 food derived from the analysis of 623 3-DD records. Non-commercial products are more consumed than commercial products (25.5% vs. 9.1% at 6 months, 58.4% vs. 18.1% at 9 months and 77.8% vs. 11.3% at 12 months) but the latter are the main source of missing data (>70% in each database, with the exception of the energy components), which is one of the major weaknesses of this tool. An integrated system of data collection (NUTRIRETE.lab) that brings together food composition data from public and private laboratories will allow us to build a more complete and representative food composition database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Complementary feeding
  • Food analysis
  • Food composition
  • Food composition database
  • Food sources
  • Infants
  • Missing data
  • Prospective cohort study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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