Products

Tag Archives | CANDAT

How can I identify when and where my subjects ate their food?

The researcher can enter meal codes from 1 to 999. A typical way of using these codes is to set 1 to 9 as the first digit, 0 to 9 as the second digit and 0 to 9 as the third digit. For instance this could make 100 breakfast, 110 breakfast away, 111 breakfast at MacDonalds, etc… of course, any scheme is possible using these 3 digits.
The researcher can enter this data in a table of meal codes which are used to prompt data entry personnel and provide output in validation reports. This table is subject file specific. A meals table can thus be specific to each study.
Meal codes and descriptions appear in all meal detail reports. Meal codes are included in export files and can thus be used in spreadsheets and statistical packages.

Food Files

CANDAT uses as its Master file the Canadian Food file. This Master file is included with CANDAT. CANDAT can also accommodate a second or alternate Master food file (such as the USDA Handbook #8 file).

  1. Food code: The code structure used is identical to that used by the Canadian food file. An extra zero has been added to the end of the 6 digit code to allow the institute and user files to fold new food codes into the same code areas as that of the Master food file.
  2. Tier Structure: CANDAT has a three tiered food file structure. The first tier contains the Master food file. CANDAT does not allow direct changes to be made to this file. The next tier contains the Institute file. There is only one such file and CANDAT is installed with this file empty. The third tier contains the User food files. There can be any number of User food files though only one can be active at a time.
    The concept of the three tier system also allows an institution to define values for foods to be used in analysis by all its users. Values the institution may consider less accurate than desired in the Master food file can be entered and used from the Institute food file. The food information is copied completely from the Master file and stored in the Institute file where it can be changed, under password control, by the manager of the system.
    The same concept applies to the User food file in relation to both the Master food file and the Institute food file. When CANDAT needs food information it first looks to the User food file, then to the Institute file and finally, to the Master food file. Identical food codes are used at each tier so that finding the food has the effect of masking the level(s) above it.

Output to text files

Most of the reports in CANDAT which can print on paper can also print to files. You are prompted for the file name and the file is created in your user area. Use eight characters only for file names, no spaces and no special characters. CANDAT will append an extension of .TXT to these files so that they are readily identifiable. All such files will be created in the user folder identified at CANDAT installation.

You have a choice of printing with printer control codes or not. Printing without control codes makes the assumption you will be importing the information into a word processing or other type of program using “cut-and-paste”. Titles and headers are then also not printed. If you wish to print to file with titles and headers and no control codes, specify printer type “none” and print to files specifying control codes. The “none” printer type does not output printer control codes.

Reports

Printing reports

Reports produced by CANDAT can be sent to a printer, a file or, in the case of subject calculated data (task 340), to documented files. CANDAT is configured to print to LPT1 (or text files if you wish). The printer definition within CANDAT which ensures printing to LPT1 is called PRNTLPT1. It can be set in Activate System Utilities menu, under Activity Options menu. Activity Options is available as a menu item in each Module or Task selection menu as well as in the Task startup menu.

In order to use your Windows printers you need a software such as DOS2USP which captures the LPT1 port.  It can be obtained here as a trial version and as a permanent version for a very low cost. The advantage of printing to Windows printers is that you can create PDF files from CANDAT output and be better able to manage the large volumes of data produced by CANDAT.

Paper definitions

CANDAT uses paper size to layout reports for printing. Paper size is a menu item under Activity Options (see above). Paper size is always defined in portrait mode, even if you wish to print in landscape mode (sideways). CANDAT determines the size of the report in relation to the size of the paper available. A few reports cannot print on paper 8.5 in. wide. These reports need to be printed on wider paper or need to be printed in landscape mode. When CANDAT detects this situation, it prompts you to change your paper definition so that it can continue. You must then switch to landscape (if you have landscape capabilities on your printer) or specify wider paper.

Printer definitions

The DOS2USB program allows you to define the print device (which can be a .PDF file), the font and the font size to use for the report. This printer definition works in conjunction with CANDAT to provide the printed (or visual) representation of the reports. CANDAT defines the width of the report and the length of the pages based on its paper definition (see above). DOS2USB makes this definition fit on a page or on the screen.

Most of the reports in CANDAT are presented in a table form. A fixed font (such as Courier New) is preferable as it uses characters that are all the same width. An “M” has the same width as an “I”. A “1” has the same width as a “0”. This allows columns of data and numbers within these columns to line up properly and be easier to read.  Font size is set here too. Please note that these sizes are in CPI (Characters per inch) and not in dots per inch as in windows. A larger CPI results in smaller characters and vice versa.  A bit of experimenting with the paper setups of CANDAT and the printer setups of DOS2USB will have you producing beautiful reports very quickly. A suitable setting is shown here.

Structure – Modules and Tasks

CANDAT has a unique structure for Users and for Food files. The actual work performed by CANDAT is organized in a structure of Modules and Tasks.

Modules identify broad areas of functionality. There are modules for food files, nutrient tables, category (food group) definitions and RNI tables, subject files, recipe files, food frequency (history) questionnaires, and file maintenance utilities.

Tasks are found within modules and provide the detailed interaction with the User. It is within tasks that subject data is entered, recipes and food files are created, nutrient data is calculated, reports are produced, etc. The titles of the modules are self explanatory as are the titles of the tasks. Follow the prompts within the tasks and you should be able to accomplish your work with ease.

Structure – Users

CANDAT is licensed on a per computer basis. CANDAT may be installed on only those computers and networks for which it is licensed. It is possible for multiple users to use CANDAT simultaneously when installed in a network. You are only allowed the number of simultaneous users negotiated in your purchase agreement.

Any one licence (on one computer) can and is allowed to support any number of users. Users are created within CANDAT using a NEWUSER2 creation process. This process creates a folder for the user, specific to the disk (memory stick or other USB device) drive specified at creation. Note that CANDAT records the drive on which the user is created. Users must function on the drive specified at creation in order for CANDAT to be able to function properly. This is particularly important in a laboratory structure where users may connect their memory sticks to a USB port and create their own environment. CANDAT creates an icon with the particulars of the user drive. A user can change the drive in the properties of this icon to correspond to the drive of their memory stick, if used on another computer. For instance, a user could create an environment on their memory stick under the  “F” drive in the laboratory environment and then need to use it on the “G” drive of another computer.

User folders store food files, category files, subject files, questionnaire files, save files, and recipe files.  For a user to use another user’s files, those files must be copied to the relevant user folder. There is no user identification on the files themselves. This structure also allows the same (project) name to be used for each of the food, category, subject, etc. files.

Data Entry

CANDAT prompts you for information in the form of a list of choices or tables. Lists are referred to as menus, not to be confused with menus used in restaurants. CANDAT will also prompt you for single field entries as in food codes, date of recalls, etc. An entry of a blank code or a 0 for date will terminate that process.

  1. There are two kinds of menu presented in CANDAT.
    1. The usual menu expects you to make a single choice. That is done by moving the selection bar (cursor) to the choice and pressing the enter key. Another way of accomplishing the same thing is to simply enter the first letter of the choice. Pressing the Esc (escape) key has the effect of choosing the last choice in the menu or of exiting menu selection without making a choice.
    2. The other menu gives you a series of Yes/No choices which you toggle by pressing the Y or N keys. You can also make all the choices Y or all N by pressing the Alt key with your selection of Y or N.
  2. There are two kinds of table entry in CANDAT.
    1. The usual table entry allows you to enter information within each cell of a table. Some cells will only allow numbers, others, both numbers and characters. Whichever is allowed will be obvious from the context. If you try to enter a character and it does not appear in the cell, the cell is probably expecting a number. Blank cells are considered filled with characters and you will not be allowed to move out of the cell until you insert a number. A 0 is usually sufficient. If this entry resulted in an extra line being added to the table, it can usually be removed using Alt F4 (see below). Some of these tables grow automatically as you try to enter another row. Pressing the Enter key in the last cell of the last row of a table activates this feature. You cannot simply move to a row that does not exist by using cursor controls. Other rows can be inserted and deleted in these “growing” tables by using Alt F3 to add lines and Alt F4 to delete lines. To exit after having entered your information, press the Esc key. You can move from cell to cell by pressing Tab (or back Tab) and by using the cursor control keys. You can also use Ctrl Home and Ctrl End to go to the first and last cells respectively.
    2. The other type of table entry allows editing of a full line at a time. This is usually a more “free form” type of entry and you sometimes need to be more careful of the layout of the information in this type of entry. To exit after having entered this information you must press Ctrl E or Ctrl Q. Ctrl E will save your entries, Ctrl Q will quit without saving your entries.

CANDAT Environment (GRASP)

CANDAT has been developed in a consistent environment called GRASP. GRASP (General Reporting and Application Support Package) is an environment which contains standard mechanisms for communicating between the user and the computer. This allows for a consistent appearance of applications.

GRASP assumes a well defined user area on the disk (usually created at installation) and a structure of modules and tasks. The following are available in GRASP environments:

  1. Task startup menu
    Once a task has been chosen and it has been read in by the computer, the following menu is displayed:

    1. START the task
    2. CHOOSE another task
    3. ACTIVATE system utilities
    4. SET paper size
    5. CALL for help information
    6. EXIT to the Dos environment, saving this session
    7. SELECT printer
    8. QUIT and return to the operating system

    At the end of a task, the same menu appears again. You can choose at this point to restart the task by choosing the first option again.

    There are two ways to exit from CANDAT. One is temporary and leaves CANDAT in memory, ready to be reactivated. This is the EXIT to DOS choice. To return to CANDAT after choosing this alternative, simply type EXIT from within DOS and you will be returned to CANDAT. Do not try to start a new session of CANDAT if you exited this way. You will quickly use up all of your memory and may not be able to start a second session if you do so. If you choose QUIT and return to the operating system, CANDAT is released from memory and you must follow the regular mechanism for getting back in.

University of Guelph

I have used Candat for many years for the analysis of 24 hour recall data, and for the development and subsequent analysis of food frequency questionnaires for two different studies. The range of analytic options provided by Candat, and the fact that it is based on the latest version of the Canadian Nutrient File, are key features.
Assistance with the development of FFQs and translation of responses into the format that can be analyzed with Candat is available on an as needed and timely basis. Response is usually within 24 hours. And, there is no problem asking for help.
I have used Candat for years because of GLI’s knowledge and continuous efforts to make the software ever more powerful.

Susan Evers PhD
Professor
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1

University of PEI

CANDAT is superior to other nutrient analysis programs because it is designed to accommodate the diverse needs of researchers. Being able to handle food recalls and records and food frequency questionnaires in the same program, to create user files of special food items not included in the CNF and to easily import files into statistical analysis packages makes it unique in Canada. Most of all, having a support person who has extensive experience with nutrition researchers makes CANDAT an easy choice for me.

I have been working with CANDAT since 1984, and have also tried a number of other nutrient analysis programs. I keep coming back to CANDAT for two reasons: the support with CANDAT is superb. I have emailed Gaetan and received a phone call within minutes. He “knows his stuff” and can pinpoint and resolve any problems or challenges quickly. The program he uses to take over the computer is amazing and very efficient.

Since he has worked with a number of academics in nutrition, he understands research and the special needs researchers have. My research group had a challenging task a few years ago which involved adapting an American Food Frequency questionnaire for Canadian use and adding data on dietary nitrates. This was a very complex and time consuming task, and Gaetan was an active participant in the research process. When we were under time pressures to complete the analysis, Gaetan committed time and was able to get us the data when we needed it. He goes beyond a technical role, and sometimes poses questions which I don’t think of, preventing problems before they happen.

Dr. Jennifer Taylor, Associate Professor & Chair
Department of Family & Nutritional Sciences
Dalton Hall 204
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Ave, Charlottetown PEI C1A 4P3 (902)
566-0475 Fax (902) 628-4367

call: +1 (877) 977-2664 (toll free)