Development and validation of an instrument to assess child dietary fat intake

Prev Med. 2000 Sep;31(3):214-24. doi: 10.1006/pmed.2000.0701.


Background: brief dietary assessment instrument to assess dietary intakes of total fat, saturated fatty acids (SFA), and cholesterol in young children was developed and validated.

Methods: Young children and their parent or primary caretaker were recruited from a general primary care health center and local Head Start programs. Dietary records, entered and analyzed using the Minnesota Nutrition Data System, were used to calculate children's mean dietary intakes. Stepwise linear regression analysis was used to select questionnaire items that best predicted total fat, SFA, and dietary cholesterol intakes.

Results: This yielded a 17-item Child Dietary Fat Questionnaire (CDFQ); 9 questions correlated with total fat intake (r = 0.68, P < 0.0001); 15 questions correlated with SFA intake (r = 0.75, P < 0.0001); and 4 questions correlated with dietary cholesterol intake (r = 0.57, P < 0.0001). The test-retest reliabilities of the CDFQ in predicting children's dietary intakes of total fat, SFA, and cholesterol were 0.41, 0.66, and 0.64, respectively. The criterion-based validity of the CDFQ, evaluated against 4 days of dietary records, yielded correlations of 0.54 (P < 0.0001) for total fat, 0.36 (P < 0.01) for SFA, and 0.55 (P < 0. 0001) for dietary cholesterol intake.

Conclusions: The 17-item CDFQ is a brief, easy-to-use dietary assessment instrument that could be used to identify children with high, as well as low, dietary intakes of total fat, SFA, and/or cholesterol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / analysis
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Dietary Fats / analysis*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mothers / education
  • New York
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Health
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids