Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Salt intake

Validation of a web-based dietary questionnaire designed for the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet: the DASH Online Questionnaire

Caroline M Apoviana1a2, Megan C Murphya3 c1, Diana Cullum-Dugana2 p1, Pao-Hwa Lina4, Kathryn Meyers Gilberta3, Gerald Coffmana5, Mark Jenkinsa6, Peter Bakuna7, Katherine L Tuckera7 and Thomas Joseph Moorea8

a1 Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

a2 Center for Nutrition and Weight Management, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA

a3 DASH for Health, 715 Albany Street, Evans 7, Boston, MA 02118, USA

a4 Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

a5 Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University Medical Campus, Boston, MA, USA

a6 DASH for Health, Vineyard Haven, MA, USA

a7 Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA

a8 Office of Clinical Research, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA


Objective With the upsurge in online dietary modification programmes, online dietary assessment tools are needed to capture food intake. Although the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is recommended by the US Department of Agriculture, there are no online instruments that capture DASH food servings. Our objective was to assess the validity of a new, short, online dietary questionnaire developed to capture intake of DASH food servings. The DASH Online Questionnaire (OLQ) was validated against the well-known Block Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ).

Design This was a cross-sectional validation of the DASH OLQ, which contained eleven food groups (breakfast cereals; dairy; drinks; fats and oils; fruits; grains and snacks; meat, fish and poultry; mixed dishes; sweets; vegetables; and nuts, seeds and legumes). Each subject completed a DASH OLQ once weekly for four weeks and one 98.2 Block FFQ (110 questions) between weeks 2 and 4. DASH OLQ were averaged and then compared with the Block FFQ for nutrient intakes as well as intakes of DASH food groups.

Setting Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Subjects One hundred and ninety-one faculty and staff at Boston University Medical Center aged 20–70 years.

Results There were significant positive correlations between the Block FFQ and the DASH OLQ for all food groups ranging from r = 0·8 for the nuts/seeds/legumes category to r = 0·3 for vegetables and mixed dishes. A comparison of nutrient intakes found strong positive correlations in all nutrient categories. Of particular interest in the DASH diet and the web-based nutrition and physical activity programme were total fat (r = 0·62), total carbohydrate (r = 0·67), total K (r = 0·68), total Ca (r = 0·69), total vitamin C (r = 0·60) and total energy intake (r = 0·68).

Conclusions The DASH OLQ captures food and nutrient intake well in relation to the more established Block FFQ.

(Received March 12 2009)

(Accepted September 27 2009)

(Online publication November 16 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Email

p1 Present affiliation: DASH for Health, Newton, MA, USA