A comparison and validation of child versus parent reporting of children's energy intake using food frequency questionnaires versus food records: who's an accurate reporter?

Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;32(4):613-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Nov 14.


Background & aims: The aim of this study was to (i) to compare the accuracy of reporting for child's total energy intake from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) completed independently by the mother, father and child in comparison to total energy expenditure (TEE) measured using doubly labeled water (DLW) (ii) compare the accuracy of the weighed food record (WFR) and DLW.

Methods: Healthy weight children (mean ± SD age 9.8 ± 1.3 years, n = 6 girls/3 boys) and their parents independently completed an FFQ about children's intake. A 4-day WFR of child intake was recorded simultaneously. The accuracy of energy intakes reports were determined by the absolute and percentage differences between estimated energy intake and TEE measured by DLW.

Results: The mean difference (limits of agreement LOA, ± 2SD) when compared to DLW was; child 130 (-1518, 1258) kcal or (113 ± 35% of TEE); father 398 (0,796) kcal or (121 ± 13%); mother 807 (-213, 1824) kcal or (144 ± 26%) and for the WFR -153 (1089, -1395) kcal or 95 ± 32%.

Conclusions: Children were the most accurate reporters when compared to their parents, with fathers more accurate than mothers. The 4-day WFR was approximately equal to the child report FFQ in estimating EI in children 8-11 years.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Diet Records*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*