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Validation Information: 24h Recall (Web-SPAN)

Storey 2012

Reliability and validity of Web-SPAN, a web-based method for assessing weight status, diet and physical activity in youth

Background: Web-based surveys are becoming increasing popular. The present study aimed to assess the reliability and validity of the Web-Survey of Physical Activity and Nutrition (Web-SPAN) for self-report of height and weight, diet and physical activity by youth.

Methods: School children aged 11–15 years (grades 7–9; n = 459) participated in the school-based research (boys, n = 225; girls, n = 233; mean age,12.8 years). Students completed Web-SPAN (self-administered) twice and participated in on-site school assessments [height, weight, 3-day food/pedometer record, Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children (PAQ-C), shuttle run]. Intraclass (ICC) and Pearson’s correlation coefficients and paired samples t-tests were used to assess the test–retest reliability of Web-SPAN and to compare Web-SPAN with the on-site assessments.

Results: Test–retest reliability for height (ICC = 0.90), weight (ICC = 0.98) and the PAQ-C (ICC = 0.79) were highly correlated, whereas correlations for nutrients were not as strong (ICC = 0.37–0.64). There were no differences between Web-SPAN times 1 and 2 for height and weight, although there were differences for the PAQ-C and most nutrients. Web-SPAN was strongly correlated with the on-site assessments, including height (ICC = 0.88), weight (ICC = 0.93) and the PAQ-C (ICC = 0.70). Mean differences for height and the PAQ-C were not significant, whereas mean differences for weight were significant resulting in an underestimation of being overweight/obesity prevalence (84% agreement). Correlations for nutrients were in the range 0.24–0.40; mean differences were small but generally significantly different. Correlations were weak between the web-based PAQ-C and 3-day pedometer record (r = 0.28) and 20-m shuttle run (r = 0.28).

Conclusions: Web-SPAN is a time- and cost-effective method that can be used to assess the diet and physical activity status of youth in large cross-sectional studies and to assess group trends (weight status).

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Full Nutrient
Tool Type
24 Hour Recall
Timeframe Tool Measures info
1 day
Portion Size Measures info
To help students recall their intake, portion size images and cues regarding beverage intake were embedded within the web-based recall.
Reporting Method info
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not reported
Administration Method info
Self-administered; By-proxy: teachers

Study Information

Study Location
Edmonton, Canada
Associated Nutrient Database
ESHA Food processor and 2001b Canadian Nutrient File Database were used for both the web-based 24hr recall and weighed food diary
Comparator Validated Against
Weighed Food Diary


Sample Size
Age of Population

Age Range: 11-15 years; Mean: 12.8 years

Other Notable Characteristics
10 schools within 6 school boards were selected for participation from a convenience sample of junior high schools.

Total number of nutrients validated: 11 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: 4
  • Micronutrients: 7
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 Adolescents Both

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.

Storey KE, McCargar LJ. Reliability and validity of Web‐SPAN, a web‐based method for assessing weight status, diet and physical activity in youth. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics. 2012 Feb 1;25(1):59-68.