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Br J Nutr. 2003 Jul;90(1):215-20.

Measuring dietary fatty acid intake:validation of a food-frequency questionnaire against 7 d weighed records.

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Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, UK.


There are few validated methods of measuring dietary fatty acid intake that are suitable for epidemiological research. The purpose of the present study was to develop and validate a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) developed to measure individual dietary fatty acid intakes against 7 d weighed dietary records, in a sample of thirty-one healthy adult volunteers. The FFQ was based on a previously validated questionnaire (DIETQ; Tinuviel Software, Warrington, Ches., UK), adapted to include greater detail on those foods from which the majority of dietary fatty acids are obtained. The FFQ and weighed records were analysed using food nutrient data from McCance and Widdowson's Food Composition Tables, supplemented with a food fatty acid content database (Foodbase, London, UK). Results from the two dietary assessment methods were compared by correlation coefficients and limits of agreement. The mean intake of individual fatty acids tended to be lower when assessed by FFQ. Correlation coefficients comparing unadjusted individual fatty acid intakes assessed by FFQ and weighed records ranged from 0.29 for 18 : 1n-9 to 0.71 for 20 : 4n-6. Adjusting for energy intake tended to increase the correlation coefficients between saturated fatty acids and decrease those between unsaturated fatty acids. In conclusion, this food-frequency method provides reliable estimates of dietary intake of many individual fatty acids for use in epidemiological studies.

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