Research Article

Performance of a short tool to assess dietary intakes of fruits and vegetables, percentage energy from fat and fibre

Frances E Thompsona1 c1, Douglas Midthunea1, Amy F Subara1, Lisa L Kahlea2, Arthur Schatzkina1 and Victor Kipnisa1

a1 Risk Factor Surveillance and Methodology Branch, Applied Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, EPN 4016, 6130 Executive Blvd, MSC 7344, Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA

a2 Information Management Services, Inc., Silver Spring, MD, USA


Objectives: We describe the methods used to develop and score a 17-item ‘screener’ designed to estimate intake of fruit and vegetables, percentage energy from fat and fibre. The ability of this screener and a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to measure these exposures is evaluated.

Design: Using US national food consumption data, stepwise multiple regression was used to identify the foods to be included on the instrument; multiple regression analysis was used to develop scoring algorithms. The performance of the screener was evaluated in three different studies. Estimates of intakes measured by the screener and the FFQ were compared with true usual intake based on a measurement error model.

Setting: US adult population.

Subjects: For development of instrument, n = 9323 adults. For testing of instrument, adult men and women in three studies completing multiple 24-hour dietary recalls, FFQ and screeners, n = 484, 462 and 416, respectively.

Results: Median recalled intakes for examined exposures were generally estimated closely by the screener. In the various validation studies, the correlations between screener estimates and estimated true intake were 0.5–0.8. In general, the performances of the screener and the full FFQ were similar; estimates of attenuation were lower for screeners than for full FFQs.

Conclusions: When coupled with appropriate reference data, the screener approach described may yield useful estimates of intake, for both surveillance and epidemiological purposes.

(Received January 14 2004)

(Accepted May 21 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: Email