Relative validity of a web-based food frequency questionnaire for Danish adolescents

Anne Ahrendt Bjerregaard, Thorhallur I Halldorsson, Freja Bach Kampmann, Sjurdur F Olsen, Inge Tetens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: With increased focus on dietary intake among youth and risk of diseases later in life, it is of importance, prior to assessing diet-disease relationships, to examine the validity of the dietary assessment tool. This study's objective was to evaluate the relative validity of a self-administered web-based FFQ among Danish children aged 12 to 15 years.METHODS: From a nested sub-cohort within the Danish National Birth Cohort, 124 adolescents participated. Four weeks after completion of the FFQ, adolescents were invited to complete three telephone-based 24HRs; administered 4 weeks apart. Mean or median intakes of nutrients and food groups estimated from the FFQ were compared with the mean of 3x24HRs. To assess the level of ranking we calculated the proportion of correctly classified into the same quartile, and the proportion of misclassified (into the opposite quartile). Spearman's correlation coefficients and de-attenuated coefficients were calculated to assess agreement between the FFQ and 24HRs.RESULTS: The mean percentage of all food groups, for adolescents classified into the same and opposite quartile was 35 and 7.5%, respectively. Mean Spearman's correlation was 0.28 for food groups and 0.35 for nutrients, respectively. Adjustment for energy and within-person variation in the 24HRs had little effect on the magnitude of the correlations for food groups and nutrients. We found overestimation by the FFQ compared with the 24HRs for fish, fruits, vegetables, oils and dressing and underestimation by the FFQ for meat/poultry and sweets. Median intake of beverages, dairy, bread, cereals, the mean total energy and carbohydrate intake did not differ significantly between the two methods.CONCLUSION: The relative validity of the FFQ compared with the 3x24HRs showed that the ranking ability differed across food groups and nutrients with best ranking for estimated intake of dairy, fruits, and oils and dressing. Larger variation was observed for fish, sweets and vegetables. For nutrients, the ranking ability was acceptable for fatty acids and iron. When evaluating estimates from the FFQ among Danish adolescents these findings should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Dietary assessment
  • School-age children
  • Diet
  • Dietary intake
  • Cohort study
  • Food groups
  • Nutrients


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