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Usefulness of a short food frequency questionnaire for screening of low intake of fruit and vegetable and for intake of fat

Lene F. Andersen, Lars Johansson, Kari Solvoll
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/12.3.208 208-213 First published online: 1 September 2002


Background: Simple screening tools to identify intake of fruit, vegetables and fat are necessary to design effective public health intervention strategies in order to increase intake of fruit and vegetable and to reduce fat intake. Methods: 108 men recorded their food intake for 14 days and filled in a 27‐item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) 1.5–2 months later. Estimates of fruit, vegetables and fat intake from the FFQ were compared with those from the weighed records. Results: Mean intake of vegetables and fruit estimated from the diet records increased with increasing categories for frequency of intake assessed by the FFQ. Spearman correlation coefficient between frequency of intake of vegetables and fruit from the FFQ and amount of these food items estimated from the weighed records was 0.46 and 0.66, respectively. The ability of the FFQ to predict those having inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables based on weighed record data, was more than 90%. Almost 95% who reported use of fat spreads by the FFQ also reported this by the records. The correlation coefficient between the amount of fat used on bread from the two methods was 0.79. The correlation between fat intake estimated from both methods was 0.36 and for saturated fat intake the correlation was 0.38. Conclusion: The FFQ could be used to screen for low consumers of fruit, vegetable and fat spread in intervention programmes. However, the ability of the FFQ to identify persons with high (or low) intake of fat and saturated fat was not good.

  • epidemiology; fat; food questionnaire; fruit; vegetable

Received 20 June 2001. Accepted 20 November 2001.