Reproducibility and validity of food intake measurements from a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire

J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Jul;93(7):790-6. doi: 10.1016/0002-8223(93)91754-e.


Few food frequency questionnaires have been evaluated for their ability to assess intakes of individual foods that may be related to disease independently of their nutrient content. The reproducibility and validity of food intake measurements by a 131-item semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire were evaluated in a sample of 127 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a large longitudinal study of diet and disease. Each subject completed two questionnaires 1 year apart and two 1-week diet records 6 months apart during the intervening year. Pearson correlations assessing reproducibility between food intakes from the two questionnaires ranged from .31 for pie to .92 for coffee (mean = .59). Validity was measured by comparing food intakes from the second questionnaire with those from the diet records. Pearson correlations corrected for within-person weekly variation in diet record data ranged from .17 for other nuts to .95 for bananas (mean = .63). Large within-person variation precluded the calculation of accurate validity correlations for 29 foods. As we previously observed in women, the foods most often overreported were fruits and vegetables, and meats and dairy products were most often underreported. With few exceptions, reasonable levels of reproducibility and validity were observed for intake of individual foods in this extensive food frequency questionnaire.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Records*
  • Eating*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires