Characterizing relationships between diet, body weight, and health is complicated by reporting errors in dietary intake data that are associated with body weight. The objectives of this study were to assess changes in reporting across days (reactivity) on food checklists and associations between reactivity and body mass index (BMI) using data from two cross-sectional studies: 1) the Recontacting Participants in the Observing Protein and Energy Nutrition study (n = 297), which was conducted in 2003-2004 and included a 7-day checklist and a 4-day food record (FR), and 2) the America's Menu Daily Food Report Study (n=530), which was conducted in 1996 and included a 30-day checklist. Zero-inflated Poisson regression was used to assess effects of reporting day on frequency of consumption for the checklists and number of items reported for the FR. Interactions between day and BMI were tested using contrast statements. Frequency of reported consumption declined across days among males and females for total items and many of the eight food groups on the 7-day checklist; among females, the effect of reporting day differed by BMI category for the meat, fish, and poultry group. Smaller declines across days were observed for some of the 22 food groups on the 30-day checklist; no interactions with BMI were apparent. No reporting day effects were observed in the FR data. The results suggest inconsistent reactivity across days, possibly reflecting changes in reporting or consumption behavior. However, the effects are generally small and independent of body weight, suggesting that checklists are potentially useful for the study of body weight and diet.
Keywords: body mass index; dietary assessment; food checklist; measurement error; obesity; reactivity.