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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Pyramid Servings Database (PSDB) for NHANES III


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) developed a database to facilitate the examination of dietary data from the National Center for Health Statistics'Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-94) in terms of servings from each of United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) The Food Guide Pyramid's major and minor food groups (Note: the Food Guide Pyramid was replaced in 2005 by MyPyramid).

The Pyramid Servings Database (PSDB) builds on a similar one, previously developed by the USDA Food Surveys Research Group for their 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII). That database provides the number of servings from each food group per 100 gm of each food reported in the CSFII.

The foods reported in the NHANES III were initially coded using USDA food codes to provide a direct match to the CSFII database. Those foods reported in NHANES III which were not included in the CSFII Pyramid Servings Database (PSDB) were either linked to similar foods already appearing in the CSFII PSDB or ascribed values when suitable matches could not be found.

The MyPyramid Equivalents Database (MPED), and subsequently the Food Pattern Equivalents Database (FPED), both developed by the USDA supersedes the PSDB for NHANES III.

Accessing the Database

There are two versions of the PSDB. Both provide servings, per 100 gm of the food code, from each of the major and minor food groups of the Food Guide Pyramid.

  • The complete database contains the 4542 foods reported in NHANES III by persons ages two and older, who supplied complete and reliable 24-hour recalls (see documentation page). This is a text file that can be printed or incorporated into a software package for analysis (view the file description [PDF - 8KB]).

    Search the Database can be used to select specific foods and pyramid servings variables from the NHANES III database.

    Two SAS programs are provided. Create PSDB will create a SAS dataset from the complete PSDB in CSV format. Merge PSDB will merge the PSDB SAS dataset with other files in NHANES III to calculate Pyramid Servings for NHANES III participants, ages two and older, who supplied complete and reliable 24-hour dietary results.

  • The NHANES III subset database contains only the 801 codes in NHANES III without one-to-one matches in CSFII, and uses the multiple-records-per-food-code format that corresponds to the CSFII Pyramid Servings Database (PSDB). If preferred, this file can be combined with the CSFII PSDB to obtain Pyramid servings for the 4542 NHANES III foods.

The Pyramid Servings Database files can be downloaded from the United States Department of Agriculture's website.

  1. Select the search criteria.

    Search by code

    Search by keyword

  2. (Hold down the CTRL or SHIFT keys to select multiple values.)
  3. Include a shortened description of the food code?