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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Feb;69(2):243-9.

Reproducibility and validity of dietary patterns assessed with a food-frequency questionnaire.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA. frank.hu@channing.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recently, the analysis of dietary patterns has emerged as a possible approach to examining diet-disease relations.

OBJECTIVE:

We examined the reproducibility and validity of dietary patterns defined by factor analysis using dietary data collected with a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

DESIGN:

We enrolled a subsample of men (n = 127) from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in a diet-validation study in 1986. A 131-item FFQ was administered twice, 1 y apart, and two 1-wk diet records and blood samples were collected during this 1-y interval.

RESULTS:

Using factor analysis, we identified 2 major eating patterns, which were qualitatively similar across the 2 FFQs and the diet records. The first factor, the prudent dietary pattern, was characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, and fish and other seafood, whereas the second factor, the Western pattern, was characterized by a high intake of processed meat, red meat, butter, high-fat dairy products, eggs, and refined grains. The reliability correlations for the factor scores between the 2 FFQs were 0.70 for the prudent pattern and 0.67 for the Western pattern. The correlations (corrected for week-to-week variation in diet records) between the 2 FFQs and diet records ranged from 0.45 to 0.74 for the 2 patterns. In addition, the correlations between the factor scores and nutrient intakes and plasma concentrations of biomarkers were in the expected direction.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data indicate reasonable reproducibility and validity of the major dietary patterns defined by factor analysis with data from an FFQ.

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PMID:
9989687
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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