Evaluation of 2 brief instruments and a food-frequency questionnaire to estimate daily number of servings of fruit and vegetables

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1503-10. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/71.6.1503.


Background: Measurement of fruit and vegetable intake is important in the surveillance of populations and in epidemiologic studies that examine the relations between diet and disease. Some situations require the use of brief dietary assessment tools.

Objective: Our objective was to evaluate the performance of 2 brief dietary assessment instruments, a 7-item standard screener and a new 16-item screener, and a complete food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in measuring total fruit and vegetable consumption.

Design: About 800 men and women from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study completed an FFQ, 1 of the 2 screeners, and two 24-h dietary recalls. Fruit and vegetable intakes as measured by each screener and the FFQ were compared with estimated true usual intake by using a measurement-error model.

Results: Median daily servings of fruit and vegetables were underestimated by both screeners. The estimated agreement between true intake and the screener was higher for the new screener than for the standard screener and was higher for women than for men. The estimated agreement between true intake and the FFQ was higher than that for both screeners. Attenuation coefficients for the FFQ and screeners were comparable.

Conclusions: For estimating median intakes of fruit and vegetables and the prevalence of recommended intakes being met, the use of screeners without appropriate adjustment is suboptimal. For estimating relative risks in the relations between fruit and vegetable intake and disease, screeners and this FFQ are similar in performance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*