Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS), 12, rue du Val d’Osne, 94415 Saint-Maurice cedex
Quantification of exposure is an important stage of risk assessment: it involves determination of the dose of the pollutant reaching the body based on frequency, duration and intensity of contact between the population and the substance. This method is based on exposure scenarios with numerical values for different exposure values and uses a probabilistic approach that makes it possible to take into account uncertainty and the variability of the parameters in the calculation process. Here we begin to describe the distribution of body weight in the French population so that accurate French data may be used for these values. Of the available data, we chose to use the INSEE Health Survey which provides a representative sample of the French population and more than 37,000 observations. Probability distributions can thus be adjusted by sex and age groups. The body weight data are self-reported and not measured, which may result in an underestimation of real values. The theoretical distribution that best characterises body weight variability is a log normal distribution. In view of the ongoing changes in population behaviour, especially diet, we cannot determine for what period these distributions may remain valid.