Although, United Arab Emirates (UAE) has one of the highest prevalence of overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes in the world, however, validated dietary assessment aids to estimate food intake of individuals and populations in the UAE are currently lacking. We conducted two observational studies to evaluate the accuracy of a photographic food atlas which was developed as a tool for food portion size estimation in the UAE. The UAE Food Atlas presents eight portion sizes for each food. Study 1 involved portion size estimations of 13 food items consumed during the previous day. Study 2 involved portion size estimations of nine food items immediately after consumption. Differences between the food portion sizes estimated from the photographs and the weighed food portions (estimation error), as well as the percentage differences relative to the weighed food portion for each tested food item were calculated. Four of the evaluated food items were underestimated (by -8.9% to -18.4%), while nine were overestimated (by 9.5% to 90.9%) in Study 1. Moreover, there were significant differences between estimated and eaten food portions for eight food items (P<0.05). In Study 2, one food item was underestimated (-8.1%) while eight were overestimated (range 2.52% to 82.1%). Furthermore, there were significant differences between estimated and eaten food portions (P<0.05) for six food items. The limits of agreement between the estimated and consumed food portion size were wide indicating a large variability in food portion estimation errors. These reported findings highlight the need for further developments of the UAE Food Atlas to improve the accuracy of food portion size intake estimations in dietary assessments. Additionally, recalling food portions from the previous day did not seem to increase food portion estimation errors in this study.
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