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Validation Information: Australian Eating Survey (AES) FFQ

Collins 2014

Reproducibility and comparative validity of a food frequency questionnaire for Australian adults

Background: Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) are used in epidemiological studies to investigate the relationship between diet and disease. There is a need for a valid and reliable adult FFQ with a contemporary food list in Australia.

Aims: To evaluate the reproducibility and comparative validity of the Australian Eating Survey (AES) FFQ in adults compared to weighed food records (WFRs).

Methods: Two rounds of AES and three-day WFRs were conducted in 97 adults (31 males, median age and BMI for males of 44.9 years, 26.2 kg/m2, females 41.3 years, 24.0 kg/m2. Reproducibility was assessed over six months using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests and comparative validity was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) estimated by fitting a mixed effects model for each nutrient to account for age, sex and BMI to allow estimation of between and within person variance.

Results: Reproducibility was found to be good for both WFR and FFQ since there were no significant differences between round 1 and 2 administrations. For comparative validity, FFQ ICCs were at least as large as those for WFR. The ICC of the WFR-FFQ difference for total energy intake was 0.6 (95% CI 0.43, 0.77) and the median ICC for all nutrients was 0.47, with all ICCs between 0.15 (%E from saturated fat) and 0.7 (g/day sugars).

Conclusions: Compared to WFR the AES FFQ is suitable for reliably estimating the dietary intakes of Australian adults across a wide range of nutrients.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Full Nutrient
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
6 months
Portion Size Measures info
Standard portion sizes for adult men and women were determined using data from the (then) most current National Nutrition Survey and 'natural' serving sizes were determined from standard items e.g. a slice of bread.
Reporting Method info
Retrospective; Usual
Format info
Supplements Measured
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
New South Wales, Australia
Associated Nutrient Database
Australian AusNut 1999 database (All Foods) Revision 17, AusFoods (Brands) Revision 5 were used for the FFQ and FoodWorks (version 3.02.581) was used for both the FFQ and WFR
Comparator Validated Against
Weighed Food Diary


Sample Size
Age of Population

Age Range: 32-74 years

Other Notable Characteristics

Total number of nutrients validated: 24 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.

  • Energy
  • Macronutrients: 9
  • Micronutrients: 15
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 Both Energy (kJ) 1.27 0.6 (P); 0.6 (ICC)
Protein (g) 10.5 0.39 (P); 0.4 (ICC)
Fat (g) 6.63 0.45 (P); 0.4 (ICC)
Saturated Fat (g) 4.49 0.45 (P); 0.39 (ICC)
MUFA (g) 1.91 0.46 (P); 0.41 (ICC)
PUFA (g) -0.79 0.32 (P); 0.66 (ICC)
Carbohydrates (g) 38.0 0.65 (P); 0.65 (ICC)
Total Sugars (g) 35.3 0.73 (P); 0.74 (ICC)
Fibre (g) 6.29 0.51 (P); 0.49 (ICC)
Sodium (mg) -0.10 0.37 (P); 0.37 (ICC)
Calcium (mg) 0.35 0.57 (P); 0.53 (ICC)
Iron (mg) 2.42 0.39 (P); 0.46 (ICC)
Zinc (mg) 2.43 0.41 (P); 0.46 (ICC)
Retinol (µg) 86.2 0.46 (P); 0.59 (ICC)
Folate (µg) -32.98 0.65 (P); 0.53 (ICC)
Vitamin C (mg) 83.5 0.63 (P); 0.71 (ICC)

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.

Collins CE, Boggess MM, Watson JF, Guest M, Duncanson K, Pezdirc K, et al. Reproducibility and comparative validity of a food frequency questionnaire for Australian adults. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland). 2014;33(5):906-14