Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Urine flavonoids and plasma carotenoids in the validation of fruit, vegetable and tea intake during pregnancy in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa)

Anne Lise Brantsætera1 c1, Margaretha Haugena1, Salka E Rasmussena2, Jan Alexandera1, Sven Ove Samuelsena3a4 and Helle Margrete Meltzera1

a1 Division of Environmental Medicine, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway

a2 Department of Toxicology and Risk Assessment, Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research, Søborg, Denmark

a3 Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway

a4 Department of Mathematics, University of Oslo, Norway


Objective To validate a new food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for measuring the intake of fruit, vegetables and tea reported by women participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).

Design Intake of fruits, vegetables and tea estimated by the FFQ was compared with urinary flavonoid excretion, plasma carotenoid concentration and intake measured by a 4-day weighed food diary (FD). The triangular method was applied to calculate FFQ validity coefficients using two independent biomarkers.

Setting and subjects One hundred and nineteen women participating in MoBa.

Results The FFQ estimate of fruit intake was significantly correlated with urine phloretin (r = 0.33), citrus fruit/juice with urine hesperetin (r = 0.44), cooked vegetables with plasma α-carotene (r = 0.37), and tea with urine kaempferol (r = 0.41) (P < 0.01 for all). On average, 60% of the participants fell into the same or adjacent quintiles when classified by FFQ and biomarkers. Significant correlations between the FFQ and FD were found for fruit (r = 0.39), vegetables (r = 0.34), juices (r = 0.50) and tea (r = 0.53). The FFQ validity coefficient was 0.65 for citrus fruit/juice and 0.59 for cooked vegetables as calculated by the triangular method.

Conclusions The validation study shows that the MoBa FFQ can be used to estimate fruit, juice, vegetable and tea intake in pregnant Norwegian women, and to rank individuals within the distribution.

(Received March 28 2006)

(Accepted October 19 2006)

(Online publication May 11 2007)


c1 *Corresponding author: Email