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Validation Information: FFQ (South Asian Women in Britain)

Kassam-Khamis 1999

Development of an interview administered food-frequency questionnaire for use amongst women of South Asian ethnic origin in Britain

Objectives: To develop an interview-administered food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to assess usual long-term intake of foods and nutrients amongst women from the largest South Asian communities residing in Britain.

Methods: A list of foods and dishes consumed by these South Asian communities was compiled from data collected in previous studies. Foods which contributed to interindividual variation in the intake of the various macronutrients or were rich in fat or fibre were included in the FFQ. Portion size for traditional foods were estimated using sets of eight colour photographs. A nutrient database was modified to make it appropriate for South Asian diets. The reliability of the FFQ was assessed in a group of volunteer South Asian women (n=14) of differing regional and religious backgrounds. A preliminary validation exercise was conducted in a group of Punjabi Muslim women (n=11) who had kept 7-day weighed records 2 years previously.

Results: The reliability of this FFQ was high, with most women being classified in the same tertile for energy and macronutrient intake in the two interviews. The main sources of energy and macronutrients identified by the FFQ were similar to those identified by the weighed records but the average nutrient intakes estimated by the FFQ were slightly higher. The level of agreement between the two dietary methods, measured by the ability of the FFQ to classify women in the same tertile of intake as the weighed records, was high for percentage energy intake from fat, protein and carbohydrates, but less so for absolute nutrient intakes. These results were, however, limited because of the small sample size.

Conclusions: This is the first FFQ specifically designed for South Asian communities in Britain. Despite the diversity of diets, these preliminary findings suggest it will be a useful and easy to administer tool in chronic disease epidemiology to obtain standardized information on long-term usual dietary intake from these communities. A more comprehensive validation of this FFQ is now underway.

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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 Year (Past year)
Portion Size Measures info
Standard portion sizes were used throughout and in the case of traditional dishes a series of 8 coloured photographs of different portion sizes were used.
Reporting Method info
Usual; Retrospective
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
Associated Nutrient Database
COMP-EAT 4 (Lifeline Nutritional Services Limited, London). The database was expanded to include traditional South Asian foods/dishes.
Comparator Validated Against
Weighed Food Diary


Sample Size
Age of Population

Range: 25-50 years

Female Only
Other Notable Characteristics
South Asian Population

Total number of nutrients validated: 6 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: 5
  • 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 Adults Female Only Energy (kcal) 208 (Median) 0.2 (P) 36 3
Protein (g) 7 (Median) 0.36 (P) 36 3
Fat (g) 3 (Median) 0.26 (P) 45 3
Carbohydrates (g) 45 (Median) 0.4 (P) 100 3
Fibre (NSP) (g) 0.5 (Median) -0.09 (P) 18 3

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.

<p>This study only included a preliminary validation of the tool. The 7-day weighed records, which were used as the comparator, was conducted 2 years previously.</p> <p>Kassam‐Khamis T, Nanchahal K, Mangtani P, Santos Silva ID, McMichael A, Anderson A. Development of an interview‐administered food‐frequency questionnaire for use amongst women of South Asian ethnic origin in Britain. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics. 1999 Feb 1;12(1):7-19.</p>