A Semi-Quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire Validated in Hispanic Infants and Toddlers Aged 0 to 24 Months

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Apr;117(4):526-535.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.12.010. Epub 2017 Feb 7.


Background: There are limited validated food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) for infants and toddlers, most of which were evaluated in Europe or Oceania, and the ones available for use in the United States have important limitations.

Objective: Our aim was to assess the validity of an FFQ developed for infants and toddlers.

Design: A semi-quantitative FFQ was developed that included 52 food items, their sources, and portion sizes. The FFQ inquired about diets over the previous 7 days. Its validity was assessed in a cross-sectional study. Participants completed the FFQ, followed by a 24-hour recall on two occasions with 1 week between data collection.

Participants/setting: A total of 296 caregivers of infants and toddlers aged 0 to 24 months enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, Puerto Rico.

Main outcome measures: Intake of nutrients and food groups were averaged for the two FFQs and the two 24-hour food recalls, and adjusted for energy intake.

Statistical analyses performed: Spearman correlations were performed for intakes of energy, nutrients, and foods between administrations and between instruments. Correlation coefficients were de-attenuated to account for variation in the 24-hour recalls.

Results: A total of 241 participants completed the study. Intake of all nutrients and foods were significantly correlated between FFQs and 24-hour recalls and between the means of FFQs and 24-hour food recalls. The de-attenuated correlation for nutrients between the FFQs and 24-hour recalls ranged from 0.26 (folate) to 0.77 (energy), with a mean correlation of 0.53. The de-attenuated correlation for food groups between the FFQs and 24-hour recalls ranged from 0.28 (sweets) to 0.80 (breast milk), with a mean correlation of 0.55. When analyses were restricted to those consuming foods other than breast milk or formula (n=186), results were similar.

Conclusions: This semi-quantitative FFQ is a tool that offers reasonably valid rankings for intake of energy, nutrients, foods, and food groups in this sample of infants and toddlers.

Keywords: Food frequency questionnaire; Food groups; Infants; Nutrients; Validity.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Folic Acid
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Puerto Rico
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients
  • Folic Acid