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Reproducibility and relative validity of a self-administered semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire applied to younger women

Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0895-4356(96)00379-4
  • Diet
  • Dietary Assessment Methods
  • Food Frequency Questionnaires
  • Dietary Records
  • Reproducibility Of Results


Abstract We have evaluated the reproducibility and relative validity of a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) used in a prospective study of risk factors for cervical neoplasia. The questionnaire is a modified version of one developed and evaluated in a middle-aged Danish population. In the present study, 122 women from the general population of Copenhagen, aged 20–29 years, completed the FFQ twice at a 1-year interval, and provided three 4-day dietary records during the intervening year. The mean nutrient intakes calculated from the first and second questionnaire were similar and, for most nutrients, close to those obtained from the dietary records. The Pearson correlation coefficients between the mean nutrient intakes from the two questionnaires ranged from 0.53 (95% CI, 0.39–0.65) for vitamin E to 0.76 (95% CI, 0.67–0.83) for vitamin B12 (median, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.56–0.76]). In comparisons between the second FFQ and the dietary records, the correlations ranged from 0.24 (95% CI, 0.07–0.40) for vitamin D to 0.63 (95% CI, 0.51–0.73) for sucrose (median, 0.42 [95% CI, 0.26–0.56]). The correlations between FFQ and dietary records were generally higher after adjustment for energy intake (median, 0.53 [95% CI, 0.39–0.65]) and within-person variability (median, 0.64 [95% CI, 0.52–0.73]). On average, 71% of the women were classified in the same (± 1) quintile in the second FFQ and the dietary records. An average of 3.8% of the women were grossly misclassified into the highest and lowest quintiles by the dietary records. The relative validity of the FFQ in this population was similar to that reported earlier. It is concluded that the FFQ is reproducible and provides a useful scale for categorizing individuals according to their intake of energy and nutrients.

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