Validity and Reproducibility of a Semi-Quantitative Food-Frequency Questionnaire Designed to Measure the Nutrient Intakes of Canadian South Asian Infants at 12 Months of Age Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose: Validated methods to assess diet of non-European infants are sparse. We assessed the validity and reliability of a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for South Asian infants in Canada. Methods: We developed an 80-item FFQ to assess infant nutrient intake in the South Asian Birth Cohort study (START). Caregivers completed the FFQ twice along with two 24-hour diet recalls. We measured infant plasma ferritin to cross-validate reported iron intake. We evaluated validity using Spearman’s rho (ρ), and reliability using the intraclass correlation coefficient. Results: Seventy-six caregivers provided 2 FFQs and 2 24-hour diet recalls. Energy-adjusted, de-attenuated correlations between the FFQs and 24-hour diet recalls ranged from −0.29 (monounsaturated fat) through 1.00 (cholesterol). The FFQ overestimated energy intake by 128%. Iron intake by 24-hour diet recalls correlated with plasma ferritin (r = 0.41; P = 0.01; n = 37), but iron intake by FFQ did not. The average reproducibility coefficient of the FFQ ranged from 0.24 (macronutrients) to 0.65 (minerals). Conclusions: Among South Asian infants living in Canada, at least 2 days of diet recall completed with the primary caregiver yields more valid and reproducible estimates of nutrient intakes than a semi-quantitative FFQ, and it highlights that careful selection of FFQ portion sizes is important for assessing dietary intake with an FFQ.


  • De Souza, Russell J
  • Williams, Natalie C
  • Sockalingam, Loshana
  • Wahi, Gita
  • Desai, Dipika
  • Dehghan, Mahshid
  • Schulze, Karleen M
  • Gupta, Milan
  • Anand, Sonia S

publication date

  • June 4, 2020