Self-reporting of nutrition and physical activity is a common data collection method used by obesity investigators. It involves patients recalling how much they eat and how active they are, resulting in self-reported energy intake(EI) and physical activity energy expenditure estimates (PAEE).
Using these self-reported values, researchers had concluded for years that individuals with more body mass were eating less food than thinner individuals, which is counterintuitive. Indeed, when using objective, scientific measurements instead of self-reported measurements, it turns out that larger people on average eat more," Allison said. "Using the flawed self-reported values led to incorrect conclusions about physiology and the etiology of obesity, despite the large quantities of flawed data collected."
Allison adds that a focus on finding more accurate data-collection methods for EI and PAEE could aid in health-related policy, future research and clinical decisions.