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Dietary exposure assessments for children in europe (the EXPOCHI project): rationale, methods and design

Inge Huybrechts1*, Isabelle Sioen1, Polly E Boon2, Jiri Ruprich3, Lionel Lafay4, Aida Turrini5, Pilar Amiano6, Tero Hirvonen7, Melissa De Neve1, Davide Arcella8, Joanna Moschandreas9, Anna Westerlund10, Lourdes Ribas-Barba11, Annett Hilbig12, Stalo Papoutsou13, Tue Christensen14, Maciej Oltarzewski15, Suvi Virtanen16, Irena Rehurkova3, Mikel Azpiri6, Stefania Sette5, Mathilde Kersting14, Alicja Walkiewicz15, Luis Serra-Majem1117, Jean-Luc Volatier4, Ellen Trolle14, Michael Tornaritis13, Leif Busk10, Anthony Kafatos9, Stefan Fabiansson8, Stefaan De Henauw1 and Jacob D Van Klaveren2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Ghent University, University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

2 RIKILT - Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen University and Research centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands

3 Department of Food Safety and Nutrition, National Institute of Public Health, Czech Republic

4 Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFFSA), France

5 National Institute for Research on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), Rome, Italy

6 Public Health Division of Gipuzkoa, Basque Covernement, San Sebastian, CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain

7 Risk Assessment Unit, Finnish Food Safety Authority, Helsinki, Finland

8 European Food Safety Authority, Parma, Italy

9 Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece

10 Livsmedelsverket, NFA - National Food Administration, Sweden

11 Nutrition Research Foundation, Science Park of the University of Barcelona, Spain

12 Research Institute of Child Nutrition, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitaet Bonn, Germany

13 Research and Education Institute of Child Health, Strovolos, Cyprus

14 Department of Nutrition, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Søborg, Denmark

15 National Food and Nutrition Institute, Warsaw, Poland

16 Nutrition Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland

17 Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

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Archives of Public Health 2011, 69:4  doi:10.1186/0778-7367-69-4

Published: 24 October 2011



The number of dietary exposure assessment studies focussing on children is very limited. Children are however a vulnerable group due to their higher food consumption level per kg body weight. Therefore, the EXPOCHI project aims [1] to create a relational network of individual food consumption databases in children, covering different geographical areas within Europe, and [2] to use these data to assess the usual intake of lead, chromium, selenium and food colours.


EXPOCHI includes 14 food consumption databases focussed on children (1-14 y old). The data are considered representative at national/regional level: 14 regions covering 13 countries. Since the aim of the study is to perform long-term exposure assessments, only data derived from 24 hr dietary recalls and dietary records recorded on at least two non-consecutive days per individual were included in the dietary exposure assessments. To link consumption data and concentration data of lead, chromium and selenium in a standardised way, categorisation of the food consumption data was based on the food categorisation system described within the SCOOP Task report 3.2.11. For food colours, the food categorisation system specified in the Council Directive 94/36/EC was used.


The EXPOCHI project includes a pan-European long-term exposure assessment of lead, chromium, selenium and food colours among children living in 13 different EU countries. However, the different study methods and designs used to collect the data in the different countries necessitate an in-depth description of these different methods and a discussion about the resulting limitations.

Food; dietary exposure assessment; children; Europe; design; concentration data; health risk; consumption data; lead; chromium; selenium; food colours