J Nutr Health.  2021 Feb;54(1):10-22. 10.4163/jnh.2021.54.1.10.

Key Foods selection using data from the 7th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2016– 2018)

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Kookmin University, Seoul 02707, Korea
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea
  • 3Department of Food and Nutrition, Daejeon University, Daejeon 34520, Korea
  • 4Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Dongseo University, Busan 47011, Korea
  • 5Department of Food and Nutrition, Yongin University, Yongin 17092, Korea


Key Foods refers to foods that have a high contribution in the nutrient intake of individuals, and exert important effects on their health. This study was undertaken to identify Korean Key Foods, using data from the 7th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHNES).
The data source for the extraction of Key Foods was the 24-hour dietary survey data obtained from the 7th KNHNES (2016–2018), and 21,271 subjects were evaluated. A total of 17 nutrients were selected as the key nutrients for identifying the Key Foods, including energy, carbohydrates, protein, lipid, dietary fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, cholesterol, and sugars. The nutrient consumption approach was applied to generate a list of potential Key Foods. Foods included in 85% of the cumulative intake contribution from one or more key nutrients, were subsequently selected as Key Foods.
Of the 1,728 foods consumed by survey respondents, we extracted 728 Key Foods. These Key Foods explained 94% key nutrient intakes of the subjects. Based on the contribution rate to key nutrient intake, the top 10 Key Foods identified were multigrain rice (5.32%), plain white rice (4.23%), milk (3.3%), cabbage kimchi (2.82%), grilled pork belly (1.56%), apples (1.52%), fried eggs (1.49%), cereal (1.36%), instant coffee mix (1.21%), and sweet potatoes (1.12%). These 10 foods accounted for 23.93% total key nutrient intake of the survey respondents.
Seven hundred and twenty-eight foods were extracted and identified as the 2020 Korean Key Foods. These Key Foods can be considered the priority foods to be analyzed for establishing a national nutrient database.


food analysis; nutrition surveys; food quality; nutritional status
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