Brief assessments of dietary behavior in field settings

Addict Behav. Mar-Apr 1996;21(2):239-47. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(95)00056-9.


Our research team is involved in ongoing research in both worksites and medical office settings. These settings offer great potential for reaching individuals who would not otherwise participate in health promotion, but they also place considerable constraints on assessment time and efforts, especially if one's goal is to attract a high and representative proportion of employees or patients. This paper reports on our experience with measures of dietary behavior in these two settings. We found it problematic to collect detailed assessments such as 4-day food records or comprehensive food frequency/history checklists in worksites or medical office settings using population-based samples. Instead, we recommend and provide data on the utility of a dietary-fat screening instrument, and on the Food Habits Questionnaire (FHQ-Kristal, Shattuck, & Henry, 1990), a brief measure of dietary behaviors associated with high-fat eating patterns. The FHQ, in particular, was found to correlate well with other more costly and time-consuming methods of assessment, to be reliable and responsive to intervention effects, and to provide behavioral targets for intervention. The strengths and limitations of these measures for tailoring intervention and assessing outcomes are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Diabetic / psychology
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / psychology
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Social Environment*
  • Workplace


  • Dietary Fats