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Validation Information: Short Form FFQ

Cleghorn 2016

Can a dietary quality score derived from a short-form FFQ assess dietary quality in UK adult population surveys?

Objective: To devise a measure of diet quality from a short-form FFQ (SFFFQ) for population surveys. To validate the SFFFQ against an extensive FFQ and a 24 h diet recall.

Design: Population-based cross-sectional survey.

Setting: East Leeds and Bolton in Northern England.

Subjects: Adults (n 1999) were randomly selected from lists of those registered with a general practitioner in the study areas, contacted by mail and asked to complete the SFFFQ. Responders were sent a longer FFQ to complete and asked if they would take part in a telephone-based 24 h diet recall.

Results: Results from 826 people completing the SFFFQ, 705 completing the FFQ and forty-seven completing the diet recall were included in the analyses. The dietary quality score (DQS), based on fruit, vegetable, oily fish, non-milk extrinsic sugar and fat intakes, showed significant agreement between the SFFFQ and the FFQ (κ=0·38, P<0·001). The DQS for the SFFFQ and the diet recall did not show significant agreement (κ=0·04, P=0·312). A number of single items on the SFFFQ predicted a 'healthy' DQS when calculated from the FFQ. The odds of having a healthy diet were increased by 27% (95% CI 9, 49%, P<0·001) for an increase in fruit of 1 portion/d and decreased by 67% (95% CI 47, 79%, P<0·001) for an increase in crisps of 1 portion/d.

Conclusions: The SFFFQ has been shown to be an effective method of assessing diet quality. It provides an important method for determining variations in diet quality within and across different populations.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Macronutrient, Food Groups
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
Portion Size Measures info
Standard portion sizes (based on national guidelines).
Reporting Method info
Usual; Retrospective
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
East Leeds and Bolton, England
Associated Nutrient Database
DANTE (Diet And Nutrition Tool for Evaluation)
Comparator Validated Against
24hr Recall, Food Frequency Questionnaire


Sample Size
705 (Food Frequency Questionnaire), 47 (24hr Recall)
Age of Population

Mean(SD): 54(19) years (Leeds); 56(19) years (Bolton)

Other Notable Characteristics

Total number of nutrients validated: 2 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: 2
  • 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 Fat (g) -45 0.43 (S) 0.09 3
Sugars (g) -24 15(S) 0.20
Fruit (g) -175 0.61 (S) 0.35 3
Vegetables (g) -126 0.49 (S) 0.27 3
24hr Recall Adults Both Fat (g) -26 0.22 (S) 0.07 3
Sugars (g) -24 0.15 (S) 0.07 3
Fruit (g) 51 0.35 (S) 0.20 3
Vegetables (g) -6 0.33 (S) 0.06 3

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.

Cleghorn CL, Harrison RA, Ransley JK, Wilkinson S, Thomas J, Cade JE. Can a dietary quality score derived from a short-form FFQ assess dietary quality in UK adult population surveys?. Public Health Nutrition. 2016 May 16:1-9.