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Validation of a short questionnaire to qualitatively assess the intake of total fat, saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and cholesterol

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Abstract Background 

To validate a self-administered 20-item short questionnaire (SQ) for classifying individuals according to their intake of total fat, saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), as well as cholesterol. Methods 

The SQ was sent to a randomly selected subsample of 300 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) in Heidelberg. The SQ was sent back by 244 participants (52.5% women, 47.5% men). Intake of total fat, SFA, MUFA, PUFA, and cholesterol was calculated from a 148-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The intake was compared with the scores computed from the SQ. Results 

Spearman's correlation coefficient between the intake estimated from the FFQ and the score from the SQ ranged from r = 0.29 (PUFA) to r = 0.56 (cholesterol). When the participants were assigned to quartiles of intake according to both methods 29–42% were classified into the same quartile, 1–7% of the participants were grossly misclassified. Conclusions 

The SQ demonstrated a good validity with respect to SFA and cholesterol and an acceptable validity with respect to total fat and MUFA, while the results are less good for PUFA. The SQ can be used to classify persons according to their intake into categories of intake.

Keywords: cholesterol; fatty acids; short questionnaire; total fat; validation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Abteilung Klinische Epidemiologie, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, Germany; 2: Institut fuer Medizinische Biometrie, Epidemiologie und Informatik, University of Mainz, Germany

Publication date: April 1, 2003


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