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Validation Information: FFQ (China)

Zang 2019

Validity and reliability of a food frequency questionnaire for assessing dietary intake among Shanghai residents

Background: Few localized food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) have been developed and used in Chinese nutrition surveys despite China’s large population and diverse dietary habits.

Method: We analyzed data collected in two waves (six months apart) of the Shanghai Diet and Health Study in 2012–2013, from 1623 Shanghai residents (798 men and 825 women) older than 18 years. The results of 3-day 24-h dietary recalls (HDR) plus condiment weighing were used to evaluate the validity and reliability of the SDHS FFQ.

Results: The median and first and third quartiles for energy intake (in kcal) derived from the FFQ1 and FFQ2 were 1566.5 (1310.1–1869.6) and 1561.9 (1280.2–1838.4), respectively, of which protein (in g) was 54.3 (42.5–65.8) and 52.9 (42.4–64.5), fat (in g) was 49.8 (37.2–64.7) and 47.9 (34.9–61.9), and carbohydrates (in g) was 227.3 (180.8–277.9) and 228.1 (182.2–275.2) in the reliability analysis. The median and first and third quartiles for energy-intake differences between the FFQ1 and the 3-day 24-HDR with condiment weighing was 59.3 (− 255.5–341.6), of which protein was − 5.2 (− 18.7–7.8) and fat was − 11.2 (− 30.8–5.3). The adjusted Spearman’s correlations were 0.33–0.77 for validity and 0.46–0.79 for reliability. The intra-class correlation coefficients exceeded 0.46 (validity) and 0.47 (reliability) for macronutrient intake. The consistency between the same and adjacent quartiles was approximately 80% for various nutrients.

Conclusion: The reliability and comparative validity of the SDHS FFQ is similar to FFQs that are used worldwide.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Energy, Macronutrient, Micronutrient
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
3 months
Portion Size Measures info
The interviewers read aloud the standard portion size of each food item for every question. Visual aids relating to the standard portion sizes were shown to the participants.
Reporting Method info
Usual; Retrospective
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
Shanghai, China
Associated Nutrient Database
Not Reported
Comparator Validated Against
24hr Recall


Sample Size
Adults and Elderly
Age of Population

>18 years of age

Other Notable Characteristics

Total number of nutrients validated: 24 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: 21
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
24hr Recall Adults and Elderly Both Energy (kcal) 46.7 (Median) 0.51 (ICC) 35.4
Protein (g) -5.8 (Median) 0.64 (ICC) 38.7
Fat (g) -13(Median) 0.50 (ICC) 27.4
Carbohydrate (g) 54.8(Median) 0.46 (ICC) 35.1
Sodium (mg) -964 (Median) 0.61 (ICC) 27.4
Calcium (mg) -35(Median) 0.62 (ICC) 40.6
Iron (mg) -2.1 (Median) 0.41 (ICC) 34.9
Zinc (mg) 0(Median) 0.61 (ICC) 36.8
Retinol(μg) -2(Median) 0.53 (ICC) 33.6
Folate (μg) 7.9(Median) 0.60 (ICC) 26.5
Vitamin C (mg) -10.6(Median) 0.61(ICC) 33.7

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.

Zang J, Luo B, Chang S, Jin S, Shan C, Ma L, et al. Validity and reliability of a food frequency questionnaire for assessing dietary intake among Shanghai residents. Nutrition Journal. 2019;18(1):30.