Validation of a food-frequency questionnaire for the assessment of calcium intake in schoolchildren aged 9-10 years

Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Jul;93(1):23-38. doi: 10.1007/s00223-013-9721-y. Epub 2013 Mar 30.


Bone mass increases steadily until age 20-30 years, when peak bone mass (PBM) is acquired. Nutrition plays a critical role in achievement of the optimal genetically programmed PBM, with reduction in the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Intake of nutrients can be estimated through the use of various tools; typically, food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs) are used in epidemiologic studies. The aim of this study was to validate a 21-item, semiquantitative FFQ to assess important nutrient intakes for bone health in Italian schoolchildren 9-10 years of age. Relative validation was accomplished through comparison of the 7-days weighed food record (7D records) with an FFQ developed ad hoc, completed by a group of 75 Italian schoolchildren (36 females, 39 males). Agreement between the two methods was evaluated by Spearman's correlation test and Bland-Altman analysis applied on the data on intake of energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Particular attention was devoted to nutrients relevant for bone health. Good correlations between the two methods (FFQ and 7D records) were observed for all nutrients. In particular, mean dietary calcium intakes were 725.6 mg/day (95 % CI 683.2-768.1) from 7D records and 892.4 mg/day (95 % CI 844.6-940.2) from the FFQ. These results indicate that our FFQ for schoolchildren aged 9-10 years is highly acceptable as it is an accurate method that can be used in large-scale or epidemiological studies for the evaluation of nutrient intakes important for the prevention of osteoporosis in a similar population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcium, Dietary*
  • Child
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Calcium, Dietary