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J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Apr;115(4):551-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.09.016. Epub 2014 Nov 25.

Relative validity and reproducibility of a food frequency questionnaire for identifying the dietary patterns of toddlers in New Zealand.



Dietary patterns provide insight into relationships between diet and disease. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) can identify dietary patterns in adults, but similar analyses have not been performed for toddlers.


The aim of the Eating Assessment in Toddlers study was to evaluate the relative validity and reproducibility of dietary patterns from an FFQ developed for toddlers aged 12 to 24 months.


Participants were 160 toddlers aged 12 to 24 months and their primary caregiver who completed an FFQ twice, approximately 5 weeks apart (FFQ1 and FFQ2). A 5-day weighed food record was collected on nonconsecutive days between FFQ administrations.


Principal component analysis identified three major dietary patterns similar across FFQ1, FFQ2, and the 5-day weighted food record.


The sweet foods and fries pattern was characterized by high intakes of sweet foods, fries and roast potato and kumara (sweet potato), butter and margarines, processed meat, sweet drinks, and fruit or milk drinks. The vegetables and meat pattern was characterized by high intakes of vegetables, meat, eggs and beans, and fruit. The milk and fruit pattern was characterized by high intakes of milk and milk products and fruit, and low intakes of breastmilk and infant and follow-up formula. The FFQ (FFQ1) correctly classified 43.1% to 51.0% of toddlers into the same quartile of pattern score as the 5-day weighted food record, and Pearson correlations ranged from 0.56 to 0.68 for the three patterns. Reliability coefficients ranged from 0.71 to 0.72 for all three dietary patterns.


the Eating Assessment in Toddlers study FFQ shows acceptable relative validity and high reproducibility for identifying dietary patterns in toddlers.


Dietary pattern; Food frequency questionnaire; Reproducibility; Validity

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