Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

A regional food-frequency questionnaire for the US Mississippi Delta

Katherine L Tuckera1 c1, Janice Marasa1, Catherine Champagnea2, Carol Connella3, Susan Goolsbya4, Judith Webera4, Sahar Zaghloula5 p1, Teresa Carithersa6 and Margaret L Boglea7

a1 Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA

a2 Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

a3 University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA

a4 Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR, USA

a5 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR, USA

a6 The Jackson Heart Study, Jackson, MS, USA

a7 USDA Agricultural Research Service, Little Rock, AR, USA


Objective: To describe food sources of nutrient intake for white and African American adults in the Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD), and their use in the development of a regional food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) based on an earlier version of the National Cancer Institute's Health Habits and History Questionnaire.

Design: We ranked food sources of energy, macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and examined portion size distributions for 842 white and 857 African American residents aged 19 years and older, using 24-hour dietary intake recall data from a telephone survey of 36 LMD counties. These values were used to develop a regional FFQ, which was then field-tested with 100 subjects and revised to improve interpretability.

Setting: The LMD region of the USA.

Subjects: White and African American adult residents of the LMD.

Results: LMD African Americans obtained more of their energy and nutrient intakes from poultry, processed meat, salty snacks, fruit drinks, pork and cornbread; and less from milk, alcohol, legumes, salad dressing, butter/margarine and sweetened tea than did white residents. Regional foods not on nationally used FFQs included grits, turnip greens, okra, ham hocks, chitterlings, crawfish, catfish, cracklings, jambalaya, potato logs, chicken and dumplings, and sweet potato pie. Based on responses during field-testing, the questionnaire was also designed to add four portion sizes for each food item, presented as questions, rather than in grid format.

Conclusions: Regional food use patterns differ from national patterns and furthermore differ between African American and white adults in the LMD. The resulting Delta NIRI FFQ for Adults should contribute to improved assessment of usual intake for use in studies of diet and health in this region.

(Received April 16 2004)

(Accepted July 13 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: Email

p1 University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA.