Public Health Nutrition

Assessment and methodology

A new FFQ designed to measure the intake of fatty acids and antioxidants in children

Petra Stieglera1, Stefanie Sausenthalera1, Anette E Buykena2, Peter Rzehaka1, Daniel Czecha3, Jakob Linseisena4, Anja Krokea5, Kurt Gedricha6, Claire Robertsona7 and Joachim Heinricha1 c1

a1 Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany

a2 Research Institute of Child Nutrition, Affiliated Institute of the University of Bonn, Dortmund, Germany

a3 Fachhochschule RheinAhrCampus, Remagen, Germany

a4 Division of Clinical Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, Germany

a5 Department of Nutrition, Food and Consumer Sciences, Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany

a6 Department of Marketing and Consumer Research, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany

a7 School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London, UK


Objective The present paper describes the systematic development of an FFQ to assess the intake of fatty acids and antioxidants in school-aged children. In addition, a validation study applying 24 h dietary recalls was performed.

Design Using the variance-based Max_r method, a list of eighty-two foods was compiled from data obtained by 3 d weighed dietary records. The foods were used to design an FFQ, the comprehensibility of which was evaluated in a feasibility study. In addition, the FFQ was validated in a subset of 101 children from the German Infant Nutritional Intervention Study (GINI PLUS) against one 24 h dietary recall.

Results The feasibility study attested a good acceptance of the FFQ. Mean intake of foods compared well between the FFQ and the 24 h dietary recall, although intake data generated from the FFQ tended to be higher. This difference became less apparent at the nutrient level, although the estimated average consumption of arachidonic acid and EPA using the FFQ still exceeded values recorded with the 24 h recall method by 45 % and 29 %, respectively.

Conclusions On the basis of the systematic selection process of the food list, the established practicability of the FFQ and the overall plausibility of the results, the use of this FFQ is justified in future epidemiological studies.

(Received August 17 2008)

(Accepted March 23 2009)

(Online publication May 28 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Email