Reliability and validity of a short FFQ for assessing the dietary habits of 2-5-year-old children, Sydney, Australia

Victoria M. Flood, Li Min Wen, Louise L. Hardy, Chris Rissel, Judy M. Simpson, Louise A. Baur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Objective A simple FFQ which ranks young children's dietary habits is necessary for population-based monitoring and intervention programmes. The aim of the present study was to determine the reliability and validity of a short FFQ to assess the dietary habits of young children aged 2-5 years. Design Parents completed a seventeen-item FFQ for their children by telephone on two occasions, two weeks apart. Sixty-four parents also completed 3 d food records for their children. The FFQ included daily servings of fruit and vegetables, frequency of eating lean meat, processed meats, take-away food, snack foods (biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, muesli bars), potato crisps and confectionery, and cups of soft drinks/cordials, juice, milk and water. Weighted kappa and intra-class correlation coefficients were used to assess FFQ reliability and the Bland-Altman method was used to assess validity of the FFQ compared with the 3 d food record. Setting Seven pre-school centres in metropolitan Sydney, Australia. Subjects Seventy-seven children aged 2-5 years. Results The majority of questions had moderate to good reliability: κ w ranged from 0·37 (lean meat) to 0·85 (take-away food consumption). Validity analysis showed a significant increase in mean values from the food record with increasing ordered categories from the FFQ for servings of vegetables and fruit and cups of drinks (all trend P ≤ 0·01). Spearman rank correlation coefficient was >0·5 for vegetables, fruit, diet soft drinks and fruit juice. Conclusions The FFQ provides reliable and moderately valid information about the dietary intakes and habits of children aged 2-5 years, in particular for fruit, vegetables and beverages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-509
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary assessment
  • Pre-school children
  • Repeatability
  • Validity


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