British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary assessment methods for micronutrient intake in infants, children and adolescents: a systematic review

Adriana Ortiz-Andrellucchia1, Patricia Henríquez-Sáncheza1, Almudena Sánchez-Villegasa1, Luis Peña-Quintanaa1, Michelle Mendeza2 and Lluís Serra-Majema1 c1

a1 Nutrition Research Group, Department of Clinical Sciences, Centre for Health Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, PO Box 550, 35080 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

a2 Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Municipal Institute of Medical Research. Biomedical Research Park, Barcelona, Spain


A systematic literature search identified studies validating the methodology used for measuring the usual dietary intake in infants, children and adolescents. The quality of each validation study selected was assessed using a European micronutrient Recommendations Aligned-developed scoring system. The validation studies were categorised according to whether the study used a reference method that reflected short-term intake ( < 7 d), long-term intake ( ≥ 7 d) or used biomarkers. A correlation coefficient for each nutrient was calculated from the mean of the correlation coefficients from each study weighted by the quality of the study. Thirty-two articles were included in the present review: validation studies from infants (1–23 months); child preschool (2–5 years); children (6–12 years); adolescents (13–18 years). Validation of FFQ studies in infants and preschool children using a reference method that reflected short-term intake showed good correlations for niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6, D, C, E, riboflavin, Ca, K, Mg, Fe and Zn (with correlations ranging from 0·55 for vitamin E to 0·69 for niacin).Regarding the reference method reflecting short-term intake in children and adolescents, good correlations were seen only for vitamin C (r 0·61) and Ca (r 0·51). Using serum levels of micronutrient demonstrated that the 3 d weighed dietary records was superior to the FFQ as a tool to validate micronutrient intakes. Including supplement users generally improved the correlations between micronutrient intakes estimated by any of the dietary intake methods and respective biochemical indices.

(Received June 15 2009)

(Revised October 02 2009)

(Accepted November 01 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Lluis Serra-Majem, fax +34 928 453475, email


On behalf of EURRECA's RA.1.1 ‘Intake Methods’ members: Serra-Majem L (Coordinator), Cavelaars A, Dhonukshe-Rutten R, Doreste JL, Frost-Andersen L, García-Álvarez A, Glibetic M, De Groot L, De Vries J, Gurinovic M, Henríquez-Sánchez P, Naska A, Ngo J, Novakovic R, Ortiz-Andrellucchi A, Øverby NC, Pijls L, Ranic M, Ribas-Barba L, Ristic-Medic D, Román-Viñas B, Ruprich J, Saavedra-Santana P, Sánchez-Villegas A, Tabacci G, Tepsic J, Trichopoulou A, van 't Veer P, Vucic V, Wijnhoven TMA.

Abbreviations: BM, biomarker; EDR, estimated dietary records; 24HR, 24 h dietary recall; WDR, weighed dietary records; YAQ, Youth/Adolescent Questionnaire