Reproducibility of the Online Food4Me Food-Frequency Questionnaire for Estimating Dietary Intakes across Europe

Steven J Marshall, Katherine M Livingstone, Carlos Celis-Morales, Hannah Forster, Rosalind Fallaize, Clare B O'Donovan, Clara Woolhead, Cyril Fm Marsaux, Anna L Macready, Santiago Navas-Carretero, Rodrigo San-Cristobal, Silvia Kolossa, Lydia Tsirigoti, Christina P Lambrinou, George Moschonis, Magdalena Godlewska, Agnieszka Surwiłło, Christian A Drevon, Yannis Manios, Iwona TraczykJ Alfredo Martínez, Wim H Saris, Hannelore Daniel, Eileen R Gibney, Lorraine Brennan, Marianne C Walsh, Julie A Lovegrove, Mike Gibney, John C Mathers, Food4Me Study

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BACKGROUND: Accurate dietary assessment is key to understanding nutrition-related outcomes and is essential for estimating dietary change in nutrition-based interventions.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to assess the pan-European reproducibility of the Food4Me food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in assessing the habitual diet of adults.

METHODS: Participants from the Food4Me study, a 6-mo, Internet-based, randomized controlled trial of personalized nutrition conducted in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Greece, and Poland, were included. Screening and baseline data (both collected before commencement of the intervention) were used in the present analyses, and participants were included only if they completed FFQs at screening and at baseline within a 1-mo timeframe before the commencement of the intervention. Sociodemographic (e.g., sex and country) and lifestyle [e.g., body mass index (BMI, in kg/m(2)) and physical activity] characteristics were collected. Linear regression, correlation coefficients, concordance (percentage) in quartile classification, and Bland-Altman plots for daily intakes were used to assess reproducibility.

RESULTS: In total, 567 participants (59% female), with a mean ± SD age of 38.7 ± 13.4 y and BMI of 25.4 ± 4.8, completed both FFQs within 1 mo (mean ± SD: 19.2 ± 6.2 d). Exact plus adjacent classification of total energy intake in participants was highest in Ireland (94%) and lowest in Poland (81%). Spearman correlation coefficients (ρ) in total energy intake between FFQs ranged from 0.50 for obese participants to 0.68 and 0.60 in normal-weight and overweight participants, respectively. Bland-Altman plots showed a mean difference between FFQs of 210 kcal/d, with the agreement deteriorating as energy intakes increased. There was little variation in reproducibility of total energy intakes between sex and age groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The online Food4Me FFQ was shown to be reproducible across 7 European countries when administered within a 1-mo period to a large number of participants. The results support the utility of the online Food4Me FFQ as a reproducible tool across multiple European populations. This trial was registered at as NCT01530139.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-75
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number5
Early online date6 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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