Relative validity and reproducibility of a new 44-item diet and food frequency questionnaire among adults: Online assessment

Aurélie Affret, Douae El Fatouhi, Courtney Dow, Emmanuelle Correia, Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault*, Guy Fagherazzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dietary questionnaires currently available which can assess the habitual diet are timely, costly, or not adapted well to the modern diet; thus, there is a need for a shorter food frequency e-Questionnaire (FFeQ) adapted to Western diets, in order to properly estimate energy and macronutrient intakes or rank individuals according to food and nutrient intakes. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relative validity and reproducibility of a 30-minute and 44-item FFeQ in a sample of adults obtained from the general population. Methods: A sample of French adults was recruited through social media and an advertising campaign. A total of 223 volunteers completed the FFeQ twice at one-year intervals and were included in the reproducibility study. During that interval, 92 participants completed three-to-six 24-hour recalls and were included in the validity study. Nutrient and dietary intakes were computed for all validity and reproducibility participants. The level of agreement between the two methods was evaluated for nutrient and food group intakes using classification into quintiles of daily intake, correlation coefficients and Bland-Altman plots. Results: For relative validity, correlation coefficients ranged from 0.09 to 0.88 (unadjusted correlation coefficients, median: 0.48) and 0.02 to 0.68 (deattenuated and energy adjusted correlation coefficients, median: 0.50) for food group and nutrient intakes, respectively. The median proportion of subjects classified into the same or adjacent quintile was 73% and 66% for food and nutrient intakes, respectively. Bland-Altman plots showed good agreement across the range of intakes. Regarding reproducibility, intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.33 to 0.72 (median: 0.60) and 0.55 to 0.73 (median: 0.64), for food and nutrient intakes, respectively. Conclusions: The FFeQ showed acceptable validity and reproducibility in a sample of adults based on their food and nutrient intakes. The FFeQ is a promising and low-cost tool that can be used in large-scale online epidemiological studies or clinical routines and could be integrated into evidence-based smartphone apps for assessing diet components.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere227
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Online dietary assessment tool
  • Reproducibility
  • Short Food Frequency e-Questionnaire
  • Validity
  • Web-based


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