Background: The meal- and Web-based food frequency questionnaires, Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q, were developed for cost-efficient assessment of dietary intake in epidemiological studies.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the relative validity of micronutrient and fiber intake assessed with Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q. The reproducibility of Meal-Q was also evaluated.
Methods: A total of 163 volunteer men and women aged between 20 and 63 years were recruited from Stockholm County, Sweden. Assessment of micronutrient and fiber intake with the 174-item Meal-Q was compared to a Web-based 7-day weighed food record (WFR). Two administered Meal-Q questionnaires were compared for reproducibility. The 126-item MiniMeal-Q, developed after the validation study, was evaluated in a simulated validation by using truncated Meal-Q data.
Results: The study population consisted of approximately 80% women (129/163) with a mean age of 33 years (SD 12) who were highly educated (130/163, 80% with >12 years of education) on average. Cross-classification of quartiles with the WFR placed 69% to 90% in the same/adjacent quartile for Meal-Q and 67% to 89% for MiniMeal-Q. Bland-Altman plots with the WFR and the questionnaires showed large variances and a trend of increasing underestimation with increasing intakes. Deattenuated and energy-adjusted Spearman rank correlations between the questionnaires and the WFR were in the range ρ=.25-.69, excluding sodium that was not statistically significant. Cross-classifications of quartiles of the 2 Meal-Q administrations placed 86% to 97% in the same/adjacent quartile. Intraclass correlation coefficients for energy-adjusted intakes were in the range of .50-.76.
Conclusions: With the exception of sodium, this validation study demonstrates Meal-Q and MiniMeal-Q to be useful methods for ranking micronutrient and fiber intake in epidemiological studies with Web-based data collection.
Keywords: FFQ; Internet; adult; micronutrients; reproducibility; validity; weighed food record.