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Validation Information: Diet Questionnaire

Heller 1981

A Simple Method of Assessing the Effect of Dietary Advice to Reduce Plasma Cholesterol

A simple eight-item questionnaire was used to assess the saturated fat content of the diet of participants in a multifactorial trial of the prevention of coronary heart disease. The questionnaire was found to have good repeatability, and a score derived from it correlated significantly with a more lengthy dietary recall method (the 3-day diary) in assessing the amount of saturated fat in the diet: high scores reflected a low saturated fat intake. The score was higher among those advised to reduce their saturated fat intake (suggesting that they had taken the advice) than among those who had been given no advice. Men given personal counseling had higher scores than those who were only sent letters and leaflets containing essentially the same information by post. Among unadvised control men there was no correlation between the score and the plasma cholesterol level; but among the men given advice, the higher their score the greater was the fall in their plasma cholesterol. This highlights the paradox that an individual's current saturated fat intake cannot predict his plasma cholesterol level, yet a change in this level is readily predicted by even a crude assessment of change in dietary fat.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Tool Type
Food Frequency Questionnaire
Timeframe Tool Measures info
Portion Size Measures info
No portion sizes were asked as a score was assigned to each answer.
Reporting Method info
Usual; Retrospective
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
Associated Nutrient Database
Not reported
Comparator Validated Against
Weighed Food Diary


Sample Size
Age of Population

Range: 40-59 years

Male Only
Other Notable Characteristics
Participants at high-risk of coronary heart disease.

Total number of nutrients validated: 1 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.

  • Macronutrients: 1
  • 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 Male Only Saturated Fat (g) -0.3 (S)

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.

Heller RF, Pedoe HD, Rose G. A simple method of assessing the effect of dietary advice to reduce plasma cholesterol. Preventive medicine. 1981 May 1;10(3):364-70.