Relative Validity of Nutrient Intakes Assessed by Questionnaire, 24-Hour Recalls, and Diet Records as Compared With Urinary Recovery and Plasma Concentration Biomarkers: Findings for Women

Am J Epidemiol. 2018 May 1;187(5):1051-1063. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx328.


We evaluated the performance of a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (SFFQ), the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Recall (ASA24), and 7-day dietary records (7DDRs), in comparison with biomarkers, in the estimation of nutrient intakes among 627 women in the Women's Lifestyle Validation Study (United States, 2010-2012). Two paper SFFQs, 1 Web-based SFFQ, 4 ASA24s (beta version), 2 7DDRs, 4 24-hour urine samples, 1 doubly labeled water measurement (repeated among 76 participants), and 2 fasting blood samples were collected over a 15-month period. The dietary variables evaluated were energy, energy-adjusted intakes of protein, sodium, potassium, and specific fatty acids, carotenoids, α-tocopherol, retinol, and folate. In general, relative to biomarkers, averaged ASA24s had lower validity than the SFFQ completed at the end of the data-collection year (SFFQ2); SFFQ2 had slightly lower validity than 1 7DDR; the averaged SFFQs had validity similar to that of 1 7DDR; and the averaged 7DDRs had the highest validity. The deattenuated correlation of energy-adjusted protein intake assessed by SFFQ2 with its biomarker was 0.46, similar to its correlation with 7DDRs (deattenuated r = 0.54). These data indicate that the SFFQ2 provides reasonably valid measurements of energy-adjusted intake for most of the nutrients assessed in our study, consistent with earlier conclusions derived using 7DDRs as the comparison method. The ASA24 needs further evaluation for use in large population studies, but an average of 3 days of measurement will not be sufficient for some important nutrients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Diet Records*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Self Report*


  • Biomarkers