Development of a Technology-Assisted Food Frequency Questionnaire for Elementary and Middle School Children: Findings from a Pilot Study

Nutrients. 2019 May 17;11(5):1103. doi: 10.3390/nu11051103.


Background: This pilot study collected preliminary data for the modification of the VioScreen Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), an adult-validated, self-administered, web-based dietary assessment tool for use in older children.

Methods: A convenience sample of 55 children, aged 6-14 years, completed the VioScreen FFQ and 3-day diet record (reference standard). Caregivers completed a short sociodemographic questionnaire. Reported dietary intakes from the VioScreen FFQ and 3-day diet record were calculated using standard nutrient databases, and descriptive statistics were used to examine differences in food/beverage items and portion sizes between the two methods. Informal focus groups obtained user feedback and identified components of the VioScreen FFQ that required modifications.

Results: The highest de-attenuated Pearson correlation coefficients between the VioScreen FFQ and 3-day diet record were observed for iron (r = 0.69), saturated fat (r = 0.59), and vegetables (r = 0.56), and the lowest were for whole grains (r = 0.11) and vitamin C (r = 0.16). Qualitative feedback was overall positive, and six technological modifications were identified.

Conclusion: Findings from this pilot study provided valuable information on the process of evaluating the use of the VioScreen FFQ among older children, and will inform the future development of a modified version for this population.

Keywords: adolescents; children; dietary assessment; food frequency questionnaire; web-based.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diet Surveys / methods*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*