Background: Brief surveys measuring fruit and vegetable intakes of populations have been used to monitor local and national trends in fruit and vegetable consumption over time, and to evaluate interventions to promote fruit and vegetable consumption for the primary prevention of disease. To date, brief validated survey instruments measuring self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption levels have not been systematically reviewed.
Methods: MEDLINE search for papers describing validated survey instruments with 16 or fewer fruit and vegetable items.
Results: Ten survey instruments with total numbers of 6 to 16 items met our search criteria. In comparisons with in-depth dietary assessment methods, survey instruments with relatively greater numbers of fruit and vegetable items, and with questions on portion sizes and mixed vegetable dishes, were characterized by higher Pearson and/or Spearman rank correlation coefficients for fruit and vegetable intakes and by closer estimations of mean/median total fruit and vegetable intakes.
Conclusions: This review suggests that the inclusion of a moderate number of representative fruit and vegetable items, and the review of questions on portion size and the consumption of mixed vegetable dishes, may enhance the validity of brief fruit and vegetable instruments.