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Validation Information: Dietary Targets Monitor (DTM)

Lean 2003

Evaluation of a Dietary Targets Monitor

Objective: To evaluate a two-page food frequency list for use as a Dietary Targets Monitor in large scale surveys to quantify consumptions of the key foods groups targeted in health promotion.

Design: Intakes of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods and fish estimated from a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) were compared with a short food frequency list (the Dietary Targets Monitor) specifically designed to assess habitual frequency of consumption of foods in relation to dietary targets which form the basis of a National (Scottish) Food and Health Policy.

Subjects: A total of 1085 adults aged 25-64y from the Glasgow MONICA Study.

Results: The two questionnaires both collected data on frequencies of food consumption for fruit and vegetables, starchy foods and fish. Comparing the two questionnaires, there were consistent biases, best expressed as ratios (FFQ:Dietary Targets Monitor) between the methods for fruit and vegetables (1.33, 95% CI 1.29, 1.38) and ‘starchy foods’ (1.08, 95% CI 1.05, 1.12), the DTM showing systematic under-reporting by men. For fish consumption, there was essentially no bias between the methods (0.99, 95% CI 0.94, 1.03). Using calibration factors to adjust for biases, the Dietary Targets Monitor indicated that 16% of the subjects were achieving the Scottish Diet food target (400g/day) for fruit and vegetable consumption. Nearly one-third (32%) of the subjects were eating the recommended intakes of fish (three portions per week). The Dietary Targets Monitor measure of starchy foods consumption was calibrated using FFQ data to be able to make quantitative estimates: 20% of subjects were eating six or more portions of starchy food daily. A similar estimation of total fat intake and saturated fat intake (g/day) allowed the categorization of subjects as low, moderate or high fat consumers, with broad agreement between the methods. The levels of agreement demonstrated by Bland-Altman analysis, were insufficient to permit use of the adjusted DTM to estimate quantitative consumption in smaller subgroups.

Conclusions: The Dietary Targets Monitor provides a short, easily administered, dietary assessment tool with the capacity to monitor intakes for changes towards national dietary targets for several key foods and nutrients. 

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Food Groups
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
Portion Size Measures info
Standard portion sizes
Reporting Method info
Retrospective; Usual
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Associated Nutrient Database
Not reported for the tool. The reference questionnaire used the modified MRC 'Caerphilly' programme.
Comparator Validated Against
Food Frequency Questionnaire


Sample Size
Age of Population

Range: 25-64 years

Other Notable Characteristics
Subjects completed both questionnaires in 1997.

Total number of nutrients validated: 0 info

Not all of the nutrients validated in the validation studies are included in the table below, as statistical data was only selected to be displayed for a number of nutrients, this included:

  • Energy
  • Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Mono-unsaturated Fat
  • Poly-unsaturated Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Sugar
  • Non‐starch polysaccharides(NSP)
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Retinol
  • Folate
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Fruit & Vegetables
  • Urinary Nitrogen

To find information on the other validated nutrients please read the validation study.

  • Macronutrients: 0
  • Micronutrients: 0
Comparator Lifestage Sex Nutrient Measured info Mean Difference Standard Deviation info Correlation Coefficient info Cohen's Kappa Coefficient Percentage Agreement Percentage Agreement Categories info Lower Limits of Agreement Upper Limits of Agreement
Food Frequency Questionnaire Adults Both Fruit (counts per week) -4 (Median)
Vegetables (counts per week) -2 (Median)
Fruit and Vegetables (counts per week) -5 (Median)

Some results have been calculated using statistical techniques based on the published data.

For further information on statistical terms click on Statistical tests used in validation studies

All correlations coefficients in the table are unadjusted unless stated otherwise. For adjusted correlation coefficients and other statistical methods used in the study e.g. paired t-tests, please read the validation articles.

  • # Adjusted
  • † Energy adjusted.
  • ‡ For loge-transformed, energy-adjusted nutrient intakes.
  • ^ Adjacent included.
  • ᵟ Participants provided identical responses.
  • (w) = Weighted.

Lean ME, Anderson AS, Morrison C, Currall J. Evaluation of a dietary targets monitor. European journal of clinical nutrition. 2003 May 1;57(5):667-73.