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J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Jul;101(7):751-61.

Evaluation of validity of items for a food behavior checklist.

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Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu 96813, USA.



To evaluate the validity of food behavior items, using a biological measure (serum carotenoids) as the criterion for validity of fruit and vegetable intake, and the results from multiple 24-hour recalls to test convergent validity with nutrient intake.


Participants responded to 39 food-behavior questions and later completed three 1-day dietary recalls. Serum carotenoid levels were determined for a 59% randomly selected subsample.


A convenience sample of 100 English-speaking, low-income women participating in a Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program in 8 California counties. Statistical analyses Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated between responses to the food behavior items and (a) serum carotenoid levels and (b) mean nutrient intakes from the 24-hour recalls. Cronbach's coefficient alpha was determined for items within broad food behavior topics.


Responses to 10 food behavior items were significantly correlated with serum carotenoid levels (correlations greater than 0.45 were found for choosing low-fat foods and a self-evaluation of overall dietary quality). An additional 12 items showed hypothesized associations with the 24-hour recall data (with a maximum correlation 0.50 for number of eggs per week and dietary cholesterol). Cronbach's coefficient alpha ranged from 0.28 (for 5 fat and cholesterol items) to 0.79 (for 9 fruit and vegetable items).


Nutrition professionals can use these methods to validate items for food behavior checklists for specific populations. The items described here may be useful when designing instruments to administer to low-income women in a community setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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