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Validation Information: FFQ (12 months old)

Marriot 2009

What do babies eat? Evaluation of a food frequency questionnaire to assess the diets of infants aged 12 months

Objective: To evaluate the relative validity of an FFQ for assessing nutrient intakes in 12-month-old infants.

Design and setting: The FFQ was developed to assess the diets of infants born to women in the Southampton Women's Survey (SWS), a population-based survey of young women and their offspring. The energy and nutrient intakes obtained from an interviewer-administered FFQ were compared with those obtained from 4 d weighed diaries (WD).

Subjects and methods: A sub-sample of fifty infants (aged 1 year) from the SWS had their diets assessed by both methods. The FFQ recorded the frequencies and amounts of foods and drinks consumed by the infants over the previous 28 d; milk consumption was recorded separately. The WD recorded the weights of all foods and drinks consumed by the infants on 4 d following the FFQ completion.

Results: The Spearman rank correlation coefficients for intakes of energy, macronutrients and eighteen micronutrients, determined by the two methods, ranged from r= 0.25 to 0.66. Bland-Altman statistics showed that mean differences between methods were in the range +5% to +60% except for vitamin D (+106 %). Differences in micronutrient intake were partly explained by changes in patterns of milk consumption between the two assessments.

Conclusion: Although there were differences in absolute energy and nutrient intakes between methods, there was reasonable agreement in the ranking of intakes. The FFQ is a useful tool for assessing energy and nutrient intakes of healthy infants aged around 12 months.

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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
1 Month
Portion Size Measures info
Household measures and food models. Human milk, baby formula and other milk intakes are recorded in a seperate section. Human milk intake was estimated using an algorithm based on length of suckling.
Reporting Method info
Usual; Retrospective
Format info
Supplements Measured
Administration Method info
by-proxy: parents interviewed by a trained research nurse.

Study Information

Study Location
Southampton, England
Associated Nutrient Database
Nutritional composition information for infant formulas and commercial baby foods was obtained from manufacturers and/or by calculation from ingredients; and for non-baby products was taken from McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, 5th edition and supplements
Comparator Validated Against
Weighed Food Diary


Sample Size
Infants and toddlers
Age of Population

Range: 12 months

Mean: 12 months

Other Notable Characteristics
The infants were the offspring of the women that were recruited in the Southampton Women Survey (SWS). The infants were born between 1998 and 2003.

Total number of nutrients validated: 23 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: 18
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 Infants and toddlers Both Energy (kcal) 19% 0.46 (S) -26% 64%
Energy (kJ) 19% 0.46 (S) -26% 64%
Protein (g) 16% 0.52 (S) -41% 72%
Fat (g) 14% 0.36 (S) -45% 72%
Carbohydrates (g) 23% 0.49 (S) -18% 64%
Total Sugars (g) 24% 0.53 (S) -21% 68%
Sodium (mg) 5% 0.66 (S) -63% 73%
Calcium (mg) 12% 0.65 (S) -42% 65%
Iron (mg) 46% 0.44 (S) -37% 128%
Zinc (mg) 31% 0.39 (S) -26% 88%
Retinol (µg) 27% 0.48 (S) -37% 92%
Folic Acid (µg) 29% 0.39 (S) -35% 94%
Vitamin B12 (µg) 13% 0.42 (S) -69% 94%
Vitamin C (mg) 60% 0.52 (S) -46% 166%

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.

Marriott LD, Inskip HM, Borland SE, Godfrey KM, Law CM, Robinson SM. What do babies eat? Evaluation of a food frequency questionnaire to assess the diets of infants aged 12 months. Public health nutrition. 2009 Jul 1;12(7):967.