Objective: A food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was developed to assess habitual dietary intake in the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a prospective epidemiological study to analyse disparities in cancer and other chronic diseases between African-Americans and Whites.
Design: Frequency and portion size estimates were obtained for each of 104 foods. Daily intakes of 13 food groups, energy and 18 nutrients were computed. Each participant's rank and quintile classification of nutrient intakes was determined with and without the use of the subject's reported portion size.
Subjects: The sample was obtained from the SCCS pilot study conducted in Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida, and consisted of 209 adults, 54% African-American, with a mean (standard deviation) age of 57.1 (12.5) years.
Results: Correlations between the ranks from the two methods of estimation were high, ranging from 0.66 to 0.94 for food groups and 0.81 to 0.94 for nutrients. Pearson correlations were similarly high for food groups and nutrients. Concordance in exact quintile rank across the nutrient indices ranged from 52 to 70%, rising to 90-99% for concordance within adjacent quintiles.
Conclusions: To reduce the respondents' burden and to increase data completeness, the assignment of a uniform portion size when scoring the SCCS FFQ was considered acceptable.