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Am J Epidemiol. 1992 Jul 15;136(2):192-200.

Dietary assessment of older Iowa women with a food frequency questionnaire: nutrient intake, reproducibility, and comparison with 24-hour dietary recall interviews.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242.


The authors report the results of a dietary survey of 38,121 Iowa women, 55-69 years of age in 1986, based on a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire previously tested among Boston-area women aged 34-59 years. The Iowa women, compared with the younger Boston-area women, consumed a similar amount of calories (1,767 vs. 1,844 kcal) and a similar amount of total calories from fat (35 vs. 37%) but had markedly greater intake of the following micronutrients after including supplement use: iron (+18%), calcium (+33%), vitamin A (+43%), riboflavin (+46%), thiamine (+50%), and pyridoxine (+122%). The reproducibility of the questionnaire was examined in two more administrations to 44 of the Iowa women in January and June of 1988. Reproducibility was highest for alcohol (Pearson's r = 0.99), caffeine (r = 0.95), and vitamin E (r = 0.90) and lowest for sucrose (r = 0.53), polyunsaturated fat (r = 0.56), and iron (r = 0.59). Micronutrient intakes were generally more reproducible than macronutrient intakes. The agreement between the June 1988 questionnaire and the average of five 24-hour dietary recalls was also assessed in the 44 subjects. The median correlations of energy-adjusted intake were as follows: for macronutrients, r = 0.45; for micronutrients without supplements, r = 0.33; and for micronutrients with supplements, r = 0.64. This food frequency questionnaire appears to be reasonably reproducible and accurate, so that its use may be extended to epidemiologic studies of older women with a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

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