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Validation Information: Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) FFQ

Barclay 2007

Validity of carbohydrate, glycaemic index and glycaemic load data obtained using a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire

Objective:To assess the ability of a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to rank Australians according to their intake of total carbohydrate, sugar, starch, fibre, glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL).

Design:Cross-sectional sample from a population cohort.

Setting:Two postcode areas west of Sydney, Australia.

Subjects:From 1992 to 1994, a total of 2868 older Australians provided dietary data using a 145-item Willett-derived FFQ. A representative sub-sample of 78 subjects completed three 4-day weighed food records (WFRs). Pearson and Spearman correlations, Bland–Altman plots and weighted kappa values were calculated.

Results:Compared with the WFR, the FFQ provided higher mean estimates of all nutrients except starch and GI. All Pearson and/or Spearman correlations were greater than 0.5, except for GL. For GI, sugar, starch and fibre, the regression lines from the Bland–Altman analysis indicated a non-significant linear trend (P50.07, P50.36, P50.28 and P50.10, respectively). For GL and total carbohydrate, however, there was a significant linear trend (P50.006 and P,0.0001, respectively), indicating that as the GL and carbohydrate intake of individuals increased, so did the magnitude of the error between the FFQ and WFR. Weighted kappa values all indicated moderate to good agreement, with the exception of GL which was only fair. The proportions of subjects correctly classified within one quintile for all of the nutrients were over 50% and gross misclassification was low (,10%).

Conclusion:This FFQ was able to rank individuals according to their intakes of total carbohydrate, sugar, starch, fibre and GI, but not as well for GL.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
1 Year
Portion Size Measures info
Portion size estimates were included
Reporting Method info
Retrospective; Usual
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
West of Sydney, Australia
Associated Nutrient Database
The database used for the FFQ was DBASE IV (a custom-built database which incorporated Australian food composition tables and published GI values using the glucose =100 scale). The weighed food diaries used FoodWorks
Comparator Validated Against
Weighed Food Diary


Sample Size
Adults, Elderly
Age of Population
Not reported
Other Notable Characteristics
Subjects were randomly selected from Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES), weighted to include more older people (65-85 years)

Total number of nutrients validated: 4 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: 4
  • 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
Weighed Food Diary Adults, Elderly Both Carbohydrate (g) 14.8 N/C 0.43 (P); 0.44 (S) 0.43 (W)‡ 39 5 -0.26‡ 0.36‡
Total Sugar (g) 19.9 N/C 0.42 (P); 0.49 (S) 0.41 (W)‡ 28 5 -0.41‡ 0.72‡
Fibre (g) 5.2 N/C 0.52 (P); 0.59 (S) 0.73(W)‡ 45.0 5 -0.35‡ 0.66‡

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.

Barclay AW, Flood VM, Brand-Miller JC, Mitchell P. Validity of carbohydrate, glycaemic index and glycaemic load data obtained using a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Public health nutrition. 2008;11(6):573-80.