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Validation Information: FFQ (Prospective cohort study on diet and cancer)

Goldbohm 1993

Validation of a dietary questionnaire used in a large scale prospective cohort study on diet and cancer

OBJECTIVE The study was conducted to assess the validity of a self-administered 150-item food frequency questionnaire FFQ, used in a cohort study on diet and cancer 120,852 men and women, aged 55-69. DESIGN SUBJECTS The study was carried out in a subgroup of the cohort 59 men and 50 women 2 years after the baseline FFQ was completed. A dietary record, kept over three 3-day periods, 4-5 months apart, served as reference method. To evaluate the representativeness of the study population for the entire cohort, a comparison was made with the baseline questionnaire of a random sample of the cohort. RESULTS Pearson correlation coefficients between nutrient intakes assessed by the record and the FFQ that was completed afterwards ranged from 0.40 95 CI 0.22-0.54 for vitamin B1 to 0.86 95 CI 0.80-0.90 for alcohol intake, with correlations for most nutrients between 0.6 and 0.8. Adjustment for energy intake and sex did not materially affect these correlations, except the correlation for fat intake, which changed from 0.72 to 0.52. Correlation coefficients were only slightly modified when the results were extrapolated to the cohort at large. Correction of correlation coefficients for attenuation by day-to-day variance in the record data improved them by 0.07 on average. CONCLUSIONS It is concluded that the FFQ is able to rank subjects according to intake of food groups and nutrients. Despite a better performance of validation study participants, this conclusion also applies to the cohort at large



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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Full Nutrient, Food Groups
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
1 year
Portion Size Measures info
Portion sizes were not assigned to this study. Amounts consumed were specified in the participants own household measures
Reporting Method info
Format info
Supplements Measured
Administration Method info
Self administered

Study Information

Study Location
Associated Nutrient Database
Computerized Dutch food composition tables
Comparator Validated Against
Food Diary Estimated


Sample Size
Age of Population

Range: 55-69 years

Other Notable Characteristics
Subjects were a subgroup of a large-scale prospective cohort study on dietary habits and cancer in the Netherlands. Cohort included both males and females. Study results not categorised into gender.

Total number of nutrients validated: 18 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: 8
  • Micronutrients: 10
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
Estimated Food Diary Adults Both Energy (kcal) -428.5 1383.6 0.74 (P) 5
Protein (g) -8.9 12.9 0.61 (P) 5
Total fat (g) 17.7 20.1 0.72 (P) 5
Saturated fat (g) -9.8 8.7 0.73 (P) 5
PUFA (g) 0.8 6.2 0.73 (P) 5
Carbohydrates (g) -26.7 37.5 0.77 (P) 5
Fibre (g) 1.6 5.3 0.74 (P) 5
Calcium (mg) -168 274.4 0.60 (P) 5
Iron (mg) -0.4 11.6 0.58 (P) 5
Vitamin A (mq eq) 0.08 0.3 0.52 (P) 5
Vitamin C (mg) 7.7 37.6 0.58 (P) 5
Fruits (g) -18 89.7 0.60 (S) 5
Vegetables (g) 29 115.6 0.38 (S) 5

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.

Goldbohm R.A, Van Den Brandt P.A, Brants H.A.M, Van't Veer P, Sturmans AL.F, & Hermus R.J.J. Validation of a dietary questionnaire used in a large-scale prospective cohort study on diet and cancer. (1994). European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 48, 253-265.