Where is the science? What will it take to show that nutrient profiling systems work?

Marilyn S. Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Nutrient profiling is defined as the science of ranking or categorizing foods on the basis of their nutritional composition. Validity is a general term meaning accuracy. Nutrient profiling systems in the United States have not undergone any systematic validation effort to assess their accuracy against a comparison measure or group of measures. Different types of validation studies should be conducted: content, face, convergent, criterion, and predictive. This article provides a conceptual framework for establishing the validity of nutrient profiling systems with the desired objective of assisting US consumers with food selection to improve diet quality. For a profiling system to work successfully in the American marketplace, it must function well with consumers from most or all cultural groups, from all racial groups, and with low-literate as well as highly literate people. Emphasis should be placed on conducting different types of validation studies and multiple studies with different subpopulation groups. The use of consistent standards to assess the accuracy and usefulness of multiple profiling systems is imperative to successfully identify a nutrient profiling intervention that will have the potential to lead to improved diet quality and eventually to an improved health status in US consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Where is the science? What will it take to show that nutrient profiling systems work?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this