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Validation Information: Food Diary (Web-based)

Hutchesson 2013

Can a web-based food record accurately assess energy intake in overweight and obese women? A pilot study

Background: Innovative dietary intake measurement tools, such as webbased food records, are becoming increasingly available for self-monitoring. However, the accuracy of this method has not been well studied. This pilot study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of energy intake (EI) estimated by a web-based food record, by comparison with total energy expenditure (TEE) measured by doubly-labelled water (DLW) in overweight and obese women.

Methods: Total energy expenditure (TEE) was assessed in weight stable(+/-1 kg) women (n = 9), with a mean (SD) age of 34.5 (11.3) years and body mass index of 29.2 (1.4) kg m–2 over 10 days using the DLW technique. All food and beverages were self-reported for 9-days using a webbased food record and mean daily EI calculated. Food record accuracy was assessed by calculating the absolute (EI  TEE) and percentage (EI/TEE 9 100) differences between EI and TEE. Women were identified as under-reporters of EI based on the 95% confidence limits of the expected EI : TEE of 1.

Results: The mean (SD) self-reported EI was 8351 (1225) kJ day-1 [1996 (293) kcal day-1] and TEE was 10 648 (1774) kJ day-1 [2545 (424) kcal day-1]. The mean (SD) absolute difference in self-reported EI and TEE was -2301 (1535) kJ day-1 [-550 (367) kcal day-1], representing a mean reporting accuracy of 79.6% (14.1%), with four participants underreporting EI.

Conclusions: This pilot study highlights the opportunity for the use of the Internet as a novel medium for recording and assessing dietary intake. Although further research is needed in more diverse population groups, the accuracy of web-based food records for assessing EI appears to be consistent with other published dietary intake methods.

Web Link

Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Tool Type
Food Diary Estimated
Timeframe Tool Measures info
1 day
Portion Size Measures info
Portion sizes could be reported as weight/volume (e.g. grams), household measures (e.g. cups) or standard portion sizes (e.g. slice of bread).
Reporting Method info
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
Associated Nutrient Database
NUTrient TABles for use in Australia (NUTTAB)
Comparator Validated Against
Doubly Labelled Water


Sample Size
Age of Population

Age Range: 20.3-47.5 years; Mean (SD): 34.5 (11.3) years

Female Only
Other Notable Characteristics
Participants were overweight or obese female staff or students from The University of Newcastle, Australia

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.

  • Energy
  • 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
Doubly Labelled Water Adults Female Only Energy (kcal) -550 367 -1268 169
Energy (kJ) -2301 1535 -5305 707

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.

Hutchesson M, Truby H, Callister R, Morgan P, Davies P, Collins C. Can a web‐based food record accurately assess energy intake in overweight and obese women? A pilot study. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013;26(s1):140-4.