Reproducibility and comparative validity of a food frequency questionnaire for Australian adults

Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;33(5):906-14. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.09.015. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


Background: Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) are used in epidemiological studies to investigate the relationship between diet and disease. There is a need for a valid and reliable adult FFQ with a contemporary food list in Australia.

Aims: To evaluate the reproducibility and comparative validity of the Australian Eating Survey (AES) FFQ in adults compared to weighed food records (WFRs).

Methods: Two rounds of AES and three-day WFRs were conducted in 97 adults (31 males, median age and BMI for males of 44.9 years, 26.2 kg/m(2), females 41.3 years, 24.0 kg/m(2). Reproducibility was assessed over six months using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests and comparative validity was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) estimated by fitting a mixed effects model for each nutrient to account for age, sex and BMI to allow estimation of between and within person variance.

Results: Reproducibility was found to be good for both WFR and FFQ since there were no significant differences between round 1 and 2 administrations. For comparative validity, FFQ ICCs were at least as large as those for WFR. The ICC of the WFR-FFQ difference for total energy intake was 0.6 (95% CI 0.43, 0.77) and the median ICC for all nutrients was 0.47, with all ICCs between 0.15 (%E from saturated fat) and 0.7 (g/day sugars).

Conclusions: Compared to WFR the AES FFQ is suitable for reliably estimating the dietary intakes of Australian adults across a wide range of nutrients.

Keywords: Comparative validity; Dietary methods; Food frequency questionnaire; Intra-class correlation coefficient; Nutrition; Reproducibility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients