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Validation Information: Estimated Food Diary

Lanigan 2001

Validation of food diary method for assessment of dietary energy and macronutrient intake in infants and children aged 6 ± 24 months

Objectives: To compare the estimated food diary record (ED) method against weighed intake record method (WI) for assessing dietary intake in infants and children aged 6 - 24 months; additionally, to compare WI with metabolisable energy intake (ME) measured by doubly labelled water (DLW) in infants aged 6 - 12 months.

Design: Cross-over study of 5 day WI vs 5 day ED.

Subjects: Seventy-two children aged 6 - 24 months.

Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to one method during week 1 crossing over to the alternative method in week 2. Data were coded and translated into daily nutrient intakes using COMP-EAT version 5 nutritional analysis software. The analysis compared energy, protein, fat and carbohydrate. Twenty-one infants were dosed with DLW for measurement of total energy expenditure (TEE) and ME.

Results: Mean energy intake calculated from WI and ED was 3782 and 3920 kJ/day, respectively. There was no significant difference between these values. Using WI as a reference, ED showed a mean bias of 138 kJ/day, equivalent to 3.6% of mean energy intake. Limits of agreement (± 2 s.d. of the bias) were wide at ±1385 kJ/day. There were no significant differences between methods for any of the nutrient sub-classes. Using DLW as a reference, WI showed a mean bias of 243 kJ/day, equivalent to 7.3% of mean energy intake, limits of agreement were wide at ±1686 kJ=day.

Conclusion: There is no evidence from the present analysis that ED is less accurate than WI for assessing energy and nutrient sub-class intakes in groups of this age but this good agreement between methods in groups does not extend to individuals.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Energy, Macronutrient
Tool Type
Food Diary Estimated
Timeframe Tool Measures info
1 Day
Portion Size Measures info
Quantity of food offered was estimated through standard household spoons (level, rounded or heaped). Pictorial representations were included in the diary.
Reporting Method info
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info
by-proxy: parents

Study Information

Study Location
Associated Nutrient Database
COMP-EAT version 5 (inc. McCance and 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: 6-24 months

Other Notable Characteristics
Inclusion criteria included mothers with singleton births and the child was in good health and ate a western-type diet.

Total number of nutrients validated: 4 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: 3
  • 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
Weighed Food Diary Infants and toddlers Both Energy (kcal) 33 165 -299 364
Energy (kJ) 136 693 -1249 1521
Protein (g) 1 8 -16 17
Fat (g) 1 10 -18 20
Carbohydrates (g) 3 27 -51 58

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.

Lanigan JA, Wells JC, Lawson MS, Lucas A. Validation of food diary method for assessment of dietary energy and macronutrient intake in infants and children aged 6-24 months. European journal of clinical nutrition. 2001 Feb 1;55(2):124.