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Relative validity and utility of a short food frequency questionnaire assessing the intake of legumes in Scottish women

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Abstract Objective 

To validate a five-item, semi-quantitative, short food frequency questionnaire (SFFQ) designed to estimate daily legume consumption over a week, against results obtained from 7-day food diaries (7-day FD). Design 

Participants completed a 7-day FD and at the end of this period completed the SFFQ, to indicate the number of times they ate five legume-containing dishes in the previous week and what size portion of each dish they consumed. Daily legume intake (g day−1) was calculated for both methods and participants were classified into tertiles of intake for each method. Subjects/setting 

Fifty-one healthy females aged 25–55 years, employed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK between May 2003 and December 2004. Results 

The two methods produced a similar mean intake of legumes [SFFQ: 14.8 (95% CI: 9.9–19.8) versus 7-day FD: 14.9 (95% CI: 9.3–20.6) g day−1] and the Pearson’s correlation coefficient was 0.353 (P =0.038). Exact agreement within tertiles and gross misclassification were 54.9% and 9.8% respectively. The weighted kappa statistic indicated fair agreement between the two methods (κ = 0.262). Conclusions 

The SFFQ is an acceptable instrument for estimating legume consumption over a week and can be used to rank individuals according to the intake of this food group in similar nutrition intervention studies.

Keywords: Scotland; food frequency questionnaire; legumes; relative validity; soy foods

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine, Division of Developmental Medicine, Human Nutrition Section, University of Glasgow, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2007


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