Comparison of adipose tissue fatty acids with dietary fatty acids as measured by 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaire in Black and White Adventists: the Adventist Health Study

Ann Epidemiol. 2003 Feb;13(2):119-27. doi: 10.1016/s1047-2797(02)00260-0.


Purpose: To calibrate and compare intake of different fats and individual fatty acids as assessed with a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) against that estimated with (i) a series of dietary recalls and; (ii) the relative fat concentration in an adipose tissue biopsy. The FFQ was specially designed for use in a cohort of Seventh-day Adventists. In preparation for a large cohort study investigating the effect of diet on risk of colon, prostate and breast cancer.

Methods: The association of adipose tissue fatty acids and dietary fat intake was assessed in 49 black and 72 white Seventh-day Adventists subjects using 8 different 24-hour recalls, a 200-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and adipose tissue biopsies from each subject.

Results: Pearson correlation between fatty acids in adipose tissue and dietary intake as assessed by multiple 24-hour recalls were as follows: Linoleic acid: 0.77 in black and 0.71 in white subjects, respectively; Linolenic acid: 0.68 (blacks) and 0.62 (whites); Total Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA): 0.78 (blacks) and 0.70 (whites); Total Monounsaturated fat (MUFA): 0.35 (blacks) and 0.03 (whites); Total Saturated fat (SFA): 0.46 (blacks) and 0.56 (whites). Correlations between fatty acids in adipose tissue and dietary intake as assessed by FFQ were: Linoleic acid: 0.61 (blacks) and 0.52 (whites), respectively; Linolenic acid: 0.29 (blacks) and 0.49 (whites); PUFA: 0.62 (blacks) and 0.53 (whites); MUFA: 0.07 (blacks) and 0.31 (whites), SFA: 0.21 (blacks) and 0.31 (whites).

Conclusions: Our study confirms findings of others that 24-hour recalls are valid for assessing dietary intake of different types of fat. The FFQ we developed and used in this study gave reasonably valid measures of fatty acid intake in our population and is thus suitable for use in large cohort studies. It had validity comparable to that observed for other FFQs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / chemistry*
  • Adult
  • Diet Records*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Protestantism*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids