Validation of a short food frequency questionnaire to assess folate intake

Br J Nutr. 2002 Apr;87(4):383-90. doi: 10.1079/BJNBJN2002518.


A short quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to assess folate intake was developed and validated against a 7-d weighed food intake record (7d-WR) and biochemical indices of folate status. Thirty-six men and women completed the self-administered FFQ on two occasions a month apart, kept a 7d-WR and gave two fasting blood samples at the beginning and end of the study for measuring serum and erythrocyte folate, respectively. Mean folate intakes were similar by repeat FFQ and correlated strongly (r 077 and r 072, P<0.001, for men and women, respectively). All other comparisons were done using the results of the FFQ administered on the first occasion. Men reported similar folate intakes on the FFQ and 7d-WR, but women reported greater intakes on the FFQ compared with the 7d-WR (P<0.05). There was a statistically significant correlation (partial, controlling for gender) between folate intakes reported by FFQ and 7d-WR (r 0.53, P<0.01). Folate intakes estimated by FFQ correlated significantly with serum (r 0.47, P<0.01), but not erythrocyte folate (r 0.25, P>0.05), the strength of the association was greater in men than in women. Validity coefficients estimated using the method of triads were higher for the FFQ than for the 7d-WR when serum folate was used as the biomarker. Overall, these results suggest that this short FFQ is a useful method for assessing folate intake, particularly in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet Records*
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Folic Acid