Psychometric Testing of a Food Timing Questionnaire and Food Timing Screener

Curr Dev Nutr. 2021 Dec 16;6(2):nzab148. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzab148. eCollection 2022 Feb.


Background: Circadian rhythms coordinate multiple biological processes, and time of eating is an important entrainer of peripheral circadian clocks, including those in the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Whereas time of eating can be assessed through valid and reliable tools designed to measure nutrient intake (24-h recalls), currently there is no easily administered, valid, and reliable tool designed to specifically assess both time of food intake and sleep.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to test the validity and reliability of 2 questionnaires developed to measure food and sleep-wake timing, the Food Timing Questionnaire (FTQ) and Food Timing Screener (FTS), and the agreement between these 2 tools.

Methods: The content validity of these tools was assessed by an expert panel of 10 registered dietitian nutritionists. Adult volunteers (n = 61) completed both tools to assess internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Criterion-related validity was determined through the association of FTQ and FTS with 2 valid instruments, the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour recall (ASA24®) Dietary Assessment tool and the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire. Agreement between the FTQ and FTS was tested by calculating the Pearson's correlations for both food and sleep-wake timing.

Results: The content validity indexes for both tools were >0.80, and internal consistency and test-retest reliability coefficients were >0.50 for all meals and sleep-wake times. Correlation coefficients were >0.40 between both tools and criterion measures of food intake and sleep except for snacks. Correlations between the FTQ and FTS for all eating events and sleep were >0.60 except for snack 1.

Conclusions: Both the FTQ and FTS are valid and reliable instruments for meal timing and sleep. However, further psychometric testing in a more expansive and diverse sample will improve the ability of these tools to accurately assess food timing and sleep and their impact on health outcomes.

Keywords: circadian rhythms; dietary intake; food timing; healthy adults; reliability; sleep timing; validity.