Reproducibility and intermethod reliability of a calcium food frequency questionnaire for use in Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White youth

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Apr;115(4):519-27.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.016. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


Background: A dietary assessment instrument designed for use in a nationally representative pediatric population was required to examine associations between calcium intake and bone mineral accrual in a large, multicenter study.

Objective: To determine the reproducibility and intermethod reliability of a youth calcium food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in a multiracial/ethnic sample of children and adolescents.

Design: Reproducibility (n=69) and intermethod reliability (n=393) studies were conducted by administering repeat FFQs and three unannounced 24-hour dietary recalls to stratified random samples of individuals participating in the Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study.

Participants/setting: Children and adolescents ages 5 to 21 years.

Main outcome measures: Calcium intake estimated from the FFQ and 24-hour dietary recalls.

Statistical analysis: Reproducibility was assessed by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Intermethod reliability was assessed by deattenuated Pearson correlations between the FFQ and 24-hour recalls. Attenuation factors and calibration corrected effect estimates for bone density were calculated to determine the potential influence of measurement error on associations with health outcomes.

Results: The ICC (0.61) for repeat administrations and deattenuated Pearson correlation between the FFQ and 24-hour recalls (r=0.60) for all subjects indicated reproducibility and intermethod reliability (Pearson r=0.50 to 0.74 across sex and age groups). Attenuation factors were ≤0.50 for all sex and age groups and lower for non-Hispanic blacks (λ=0.20) and Hispanics (λ=0.26) than for non-Hispanic whites (λ=0.42).

Conclusions: The Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study calcium FFQ appears to provide a useful tool for assessing calcium intake in children and adolescents drawn from multiracial/ethnic populations and/or spanning a wide age range. However, similar to other FFQs, attenuation factors were substantially <1, indicating the potential for appreciable measurement error bias. Calibration correction should be performed and racial/ethnic differences in performance considered when analyzing and interpreting findings based on this instrument.

Keywords: Calibration; Diet; Diet recall; Nutrition assessment; Questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black People*
  • Bone Density
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • White People*
  • Young Adult


  • Calcium, Dietary