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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Public Health and Epidemiology - Science Policy

Reproducibility and Relative Validity of a Food Frequency Questionnaire Developed for Adults in Taizhou, China
Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Author: Maoqiang Zhuang et al.

by Maoqiang Zhuang, Ziyu Yuan, Lanfang Lin, Bin Hu, Xiaofeng Wang, Yajun Yang, Xingdong Chen, Li Jin, Ming Lu, Weimin Ye

Objective

To evaluate the reproducibility and validity of a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) developed to investigate the relationship between dietary factors and diseases in the adult Chinese population in East China.

Methods

A total of 78 males and 129 females aged 30–75 years completed four inconsecutive 24-hour dietary recalls (24-HRs, served as a reference method) and two FFQs (FFQ1 and FFQ2) over a nine-month interval. The reproducibility of the FFQ was estimated with correlation coefficients, cross-classification, and weighted kappa statistic. The validity was assessed by comparing the data obtained from FFQ and 24-HRs.

Results

The median nutrient intakes assessed with FFQs were higher than the average of four 24-HRs. For the food groups, Spearman, Pearson, and intraclass correlation coefficients between FFQ1 and FFQ2 ranged from 0.23 to 0.61, 0.27 to 0.64, and 0.26 to 0.65, respectively. For total energy and nutrient intakes, the corresponding coefficients ranged from 0.25 to 0.61, 0.28 to 0.64, and 0.28 to 0.62, respectively. The correlations between FFQ1 and FFQ2 for most nutrients decreased after adjustment with total energy intake. More than 70% of the subjects were classified into the same and adjacent categories by both FFQs. For food groups, the crude, energy-adjusted, and de-attenuated Spearman correlation coefficients between FFQ2 and the 24-HRs ranged from 0.17 to 0.59, 0.10 to 0.57, and 0.11 to 0.64, respectively. For total energy and nutrient intakes, the corresponding coefficients ranged from 0.20 to 0.58, 0.08 to 0.54, and 0.09 to 0.56, respectively. More than 67% of the subjects were classified into the same and adjacent categories by both instruments. Both weighted kappa statistic and Bland-Altman Plots showed reasonably acceptable agreement between the FFQ2 and 24-HRs.

Conclusion

The FFQ developed for adults in the Taizhou area is reasonably reliable and valid for assessment of most food and nutrient intakes.

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