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Validity and reliability of a food frequency questionnaire for community dwelling older adults in a Mediterranean country: Lebanon

  • Yaghi, Nathalie
  • Boulos, Christa
  • Baddoura, Rafic
  • Abifadel, Marianne
  • Yaghi, Cesar
Published Article
Nutrition Journal
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jun 18, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s12937-022-00788-8
PMID: 35717319
PMCID: PMC9206140
PubMed Central
  • Research


Background Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) is an easy and inexpensive tool that can be used to evaluate nutrient and dietary trends of groups and individuals. Few studies in the East Mediterranean region tailored FFQs to describe dietary intakes of older adults. The purpose of the study is therefore to assess the validity and reproducibility of a FFQ, designed for use with older adults living in a Mediterranean Arabic speaking country, Lebanon. Methods The FFQ is composed of a list of 90 food items, commonly consumed by adults above 60 years of age. Validity of the FFQ was tested using the mean of two 24-hours dietary recalls (24HDR), and reproducibility, by repeating the questionnaire within a one-month period, along the second dietary recall. Our study included 42 and 76 participants, for the repoducibility and validity analysis respectively. Subjects were randomly selected from 2 of the 8 governorates in the country. Results FFQ reproducibility showed a mean relative difference of 1.03% without any significant difference between all paired components of nutrients. Intra class correlation (ICC) showed good and excellent reliability for caloric intake and all macronutrients, moderate to good reliability for all remaining nutrients, except for poly-unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A, B12 and fibers. Correlation coefficients for all nutrients were fair to strong. Both administrations of the FFQ showed good internal validity. Validation of FFQ showed a mean relative difference between FFQ and mean 24HDR at 19.5%. Agreements between the 2 methods, for classifying individuals in the same or adjacent quartile, for nutrient intake and nutrient adequacy, were 80 and 78.2% respectively. Mean Kappa coefficient was 0.56 and energy-adjusted correlations were within the recommended values for all items except for vitamin A and B12. Adjusting for nutrient-dense food intake improved the agreement for theses 2 vitamins to 0.49 and 0.56, respectively. Conclusion The proposed FFQ can be considered a valid tool to help describe nutrient intake of older individuals in an Arabic speaking Mediterranean country. It could serve for possible use in the East Mediterranean region for the evaluation of regular dietary intake of community-dwelling older adults. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12937-022-00788-8.

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