Background: We designed a data-based semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire to clarify the relationship between food intake and lifestyle-related diseases among middle-aged Japanese.
Methods: A total of 351 middle-aged individuals were recruited to a one-day weighed diet record survey in 1994. In all, 586 foods were consumed. Intake of 31 nutrients including energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber by food was computed by multiplying the weight of food consumed by its nutrient content. First, 252 foods with up to 90 cumulative % contribution to nutrient intake were selected. Of these, foods having apparently the same/similar nutrient content were combined into 206 foods by research dietitians. Next, 183 foods with up to 0.90 cumulative multiple regression coefficient and 90 cumulative % contribution were chosen. At this stage an additional food grouping was made.
Results: Finally, 102 foods/recipes were included in the questionnaire: rice (2 items), bread and noodles (11), eggs, milk and dairy products (10), soybean, soybean products and other beans (7), meat including beef, pork and chicken (12), fish (5), other fish, shellfish and fish products (10), green-yellow vegetables (8), other vegetables and mushrooms (7), edible roots (2), seaweeds (3), seeds (2), fruits (8), beverages (7) and confectioneries (8). The frequencies were classified into eight categories. Portion size was calculated for the respective foods largely from the one-day weighed diet record.
Conclusions: The developed semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire substantially covered the intake of 31 nutrients and may be competent to rank middle-aged Japanese efficiently.