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Al-Kindi Distinguished Statistics Lectures | What Percentage of Children in the U.S. are Eating an Alarmingly Poor Diet? A Statistical Approach

Start Date: February 16, 2016
End Date: February 16, 2016

By Professor
Raymond J. Carroll (Texas A&M University)
Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Nutrition
Jill and Stuart A. Harlin ’83 Chair in Statistics
Director, Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computational Science

In the United States the preferred method of obtaining dietary intake data is the 24-hour dietary recall, yet the measure of most interest is usual or long-term average daily intake, which is impossible to measure. Thus, usual dietary intake is assessed with considerable measurement error. Also, diet represents numerous foods, nutrients and other components, each of which have distinctive attributes. Sometimes, it is useful to examine intake of these components separately, but increasingly nutritionists are interested in exploring them collectively to capture overall dietary patterns and their effect on various diseases. Consumption of these components varies widely: some are consumed daily by almost everyone on every day, while others are episodically consumed so that 24-hour recall data are zero-inflated. In addition, they are often correlated with each other. Finally, it is often preferable to analyze the amount of a dietary component relative to the amount of energy (calories) in a diet because dietary recommendations often vary with energy level. We propose the first model appropriate for this type of data, and give the first workable solution to fit such a model. The methodology, along with uncertainty quantification, is illustrated through an application to estimating the population distribution of the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005), a multi-component dietary quality index involving ratios of interrelated dietary components to energy, among children aged 2-8 in the United States. We answer the question in the title of this talk, pose a number of interesting questions about the HEI-2005, and show that it is a powerful predictor of the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Biography: Dr. Raymond J. Carroll ( is Distinguished Professor of Statistics at Texas A&M University. He is a member of the Faculty of Nutrition, a member of the Faculty of Toxicology and he holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He has been P.I. of a major NCI grant for the development of statistical methodology since 1990, and became the first statistician to receive the prestigious National Cancer Institute MERIT Award (in 2005). He is the Director of the Texas A&M Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computational Science ( Dr. Carroll served as editor of Biometrics, the journal of the International Biometric Society, and as editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association (Theory and Methods). He has won many honors in the profession, including the 1988 COPSS Presidents’ Award, given annually by the North American statistical societies to the outstanding statistician under the age of 40. He gave the Fisher Lecture at the 2002 Joint Statistical Meetings, an award given by the major statistical societies in honor of a senior statistician whose research has “influenced the theory and practice of statistics”. He was the founding chair of the Biostatistics Study Section (BMRD) at the National Institutes of Health. He is an elected Fellow of all three major international statistical organizations, and the AAAS. His work was selected as the Journal of the American Statistical Association Editor’s Invited Paper in 1997, 2003 and 2009.

More Information:

For more info contact: Prof. Marc Genton; email:

Date: Tuesday 16 Feb 2016
Time: 12:00 - 13:00
Location: Building 9, Lecture Hall I Room 2322
Light Lunch  will be served at 11:30