Validation of the 24-hour dietary recall in preschool children

J Am Diet Assoc. 1987 Oct;87(10):1383-5.


The results of the current study indicate that data obtained by the dietary recall correlate highly with the children's weighed food intake if a parent or the primary caretaker providing the child's food responds to the interview. Meredith et al. found parents to be poor reporters of children's consumption outside the home. It is encouraging to note that parents can be reliable reporters of their children's food intake in the home environment. When errors did occur, they were errors in portion size, as 96% of foods eaten by the children were correctly identified by the parents. Parents under-reported only 4% of the time. This slight tendency to under-report is consistent with other reports of the validity of the 24-hour dietary recall. In younger children, parents appear to be reliable reporters of their children's in-home dietary intake. As children become older, they appear to be able to recall their own intake both within and outside the home. There are several possible explanations for these findings. First, several factors could have influenced the accuracy of parental reports of the child's intake during the day that we weighed foods. Because food was weighed in the homes, the parents undoubtedly attended more closely to their child's diet. Additionally, the dietary recalls were collected at the end of the day of observation. This was closer in time than most 24-hour recalls and may have reflected less memory decay than usual. Also, since our sample was primarily middle-class families who were well educated, the correspondence between actual vs. reported dietary intake may have been artificially enhanced.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Parents*