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J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Apr;108(4):695-701. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.01.001.

School-based behavioral assessment tools are reliable and valid for measurement of fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and television viewing in young children.

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Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Nov;108(11):1936. Irizzary, Laura [corrected to Irizarry, Laura].


Interventions aiming to modify the dietary and physical activity behaviors of young children require precise and accurate measurement tools. As part of a larger community-based project, three school-based questionnaires were developed to assess (a) fruit and vegetable intake, (b) physical activity and television (TV) viewing, and (c) perceived parental support for diet and physical activity. Test-retest reliability was performed on all questionnaires and validity was measured for fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and TV viewing. Eighty-four school children (8.3+/-1.1 years) were studied. Test-retest reliability was performed by administering questionnaires twice, 1 to 2 hours apart. Validity of the fruit and vegetable questionnaire was measured by direct observation, while the physical activity and TV questionnaire was validated by a parent phone interview. All three questionnaires yielded excellent test-retest reliability (P<0.001). The majority of fruit and vegetable questions and the questions regarding specific physical activities and TV viewing were valid. Low validity scores were found for questions on watching TV during breakfast or dinner. These questionnaires are reliable and valid tools to assess fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and TV viewing behaviors in early elementary school-aged children. Methods for assessment of children's TV viewing during meals should be further investigated because of parent-child discrepancies.

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