British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary validation of a new Australian food-frequency questionnaire that estimates long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Bethany L. Sullivana1, Janelle Browna1, Peter G. Williamsa1 and Barbara J. Meyera1 c1

a1 School of Health Sciences and Smart Foods Centre, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia


Currently, there is no FFQ designed to capture the intakes of the long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA. The objectives of this study were to validate a new LC n-3 PUFA FFQ by comparison with 3 d weighed food records (FR) and to determine its reproducibility assessed 4 to 6 weeks apart. Healthy male and female subjects (n 53) were recruited from Wollongong and the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. The FFQ and FR were analysed for LC n-3 PUFA intakes using a nutrient analysis software package and these intakes were compared using Wilcoxon signed rank tests and Spearman correlation coefficients. Bland–Altman analysis and quintile assignment assessed the agreement between the two methods and the FFQ's ability to rank individuals according to intakes, respectively. Comparison of intakes from FFQ and FR correlated significantly for total LC n-3 PUFA, EPA, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and DHA, 0·75, 0·64, 0·62 and 0·72, respectively (P < 0·05); hence, there is reasonable agreement between the FFQ and the FR in assessing LC n-3 PUFA intakes. Quintile assignments correctly assigned 49 % of subjects into the same quintiles and 87 % of subjects were correctly assigned either to the same or adjacent quintiles. The FFQ was reproducible for intakes of LC n-3 PUFA, EPA, DPA and DHA with Spearman correlation coefficients of 0·88, 0·88, 0·90 and 0·87, respectively. In conclusion, the new FFQ is a valid and reproducible method that can be used to estimate the LC n-3 PUFA intake of healthy adults.

(Received March 14 2007)

(Revised June 29 2007)

(Accepted July 10 2007)

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c1 Corresponding author: Professor Barbara J. Meyer, fax +61 2 4221 4096, email


Abbreviations: DPA, docosapentaenoic acid; FR, food record; LC, long-chain