Reproducibility and validity of a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire

Am J Epidemiol. 1985 Jul;122(1):51-65. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a114086.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the reproducibility and validity of a 61-item semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire used in a large prospective study among women. This form was administered twice to 173 participants at an interval of approximately one year (1980-1981), and four one-week diet records for each subject were collected during that period. Intraclass correlation coefficients for nutrient intakes estimated by the one-week diet records (range = 0.41 for total vitamin A without supplements to 0.79 for vitamin B6 with supplements) were similar to those computed from the questionnaire (range = 0.49 for total vitamin A without supplements to 0.71 for sucrose), indicating that these methods were generally comparable with respect to reproducibility. With the exception of sucrose and total carbohydrate, nutrient intakes from the diet records tended to correlate more strongly with those computed from the questionnaire after adjustment for total caloric intake. Correlation coefficients between the mean calorie-adjusted intakes from the four one-week diet records and those from the questionnaire completed after the diet records ranged from 0.36 for vitamin A without supplements to 0.75 for vitamin C with supplements. Overall, 48% of subjects in the lowest quintile of calorie-adjusted intake computed from the diet records were also in the lowest questionnaire quintile, and 74% were in the lowest one of two questionnaire quintiles. Similarly, 49% of those in the highest diet record quintile were also in the highest questionnaire quintile, and 77% were in the highest one or two questionnaire quintiles. These data indicate that a simple self-administered dietary questionnaire can provide useful information about individual nutrient intakes over a one-year period.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet Surveys / methods
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires