Background: Meal-Q and its shorter version, MiniMeal-Q, are 2 new Web-based food frequency questionnaires. Their meal-based and interactive format was designed to promote ease of use and to minimize answering time, desirable improvements in large epidemiological studies.
Objective: We evaluated the validity of energy and macronutrient intake assessed with Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q as well as the reproducibility of Meal-Q.
Methods: Healthy volunteers aged 20-63 years recruited from Stockholm County filled out the 174-item Meal-Q. The questionnaire was compared to 7-day weighed food records (WFR; n=163), for energy and macronutrient intake, and to doubly labeled water (DLW; n=39), for total energy expenditure. In addition, the 126-item MiniMeal-Q was evaluated in a simulated validation using truncated Meal-Q data. We also assessed the answering time and ease of use of both questionnaires.
Results: Bland-Altman plots showed a varying bias within the intake range for all validity comparisons. Cross-classification of quartiles placed 70%-86% in the same/adjacent quartile with WFR and 77% with DLW. Deattenuated and energy-adjusted Pearson correlation coefficients with the WFR ranged from r=0.33-0.74 for macronutrients and was r=0.18 for energy. Correlations with DLW were r=0.42 for Meal-Q and r=0.38 for MiniMeal-Q. Intraclass correlations for Meal-Q ranged from r=0.57-0.90. Median answering time was 17 minutes for Meal-Q and 7 minutes for MiniMeal-Q, and participants rated both questionnaires as easy to use.
Conclusions: Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q are easy to use and have short answering times. The ranking agreement is good for most of the nutrients for both questionnaires and Meal-Q shows fair reproducibility.
Keywords: Internet; adult; doubly labeled water; food frequency questionnaire; reproducibility; validity; weighed food record.