Public Health Nutrition

Assessment and methodology

Reproducibility of an FFQ validated in Spain

Carmen de la Fuente-Arrillagaa1 c1, Zenaida Vázquez Ruiza1, Maira Bes-Rastrolloa1, Laura Sampsona2 and Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzáleza1

a1 Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, Clínica Universitaria, Universidad de Navarra. Irunlarrea 1. 31080. Pamplona, Spain

a2 Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA


Objective To evaluate the reproducibility of a semi-quantitative FFQ used in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) project.

Design The data that were analysed were collected from an FFQ answered twice by a 326-participant subsample of the SUN project (115 men, 35·3 %; 211 women, 64·7 %), with either less than 1 year or more than 1 year between responses. The questionnaire included 136 items. Pearson correlation coefficients (r) were calculated to evaluate the magnitude of the association between both measures after energy adjustment and correcting for within-person variability. We also evaluated misclassification by quintiles distribution.

Results The highest corrected correlations among participants who answered before 1 year were found for PUFA (r = 0·99). Among participants who answered after 1 year between both questionnaires, olive oil had the highest corrected correlation (r = 0·99). The highest percentage of gross misclassification, lowest quintile in FFQ1 and highest quintile in FFQ2 or highest quintile in FFQ1 and lowest quintile in FFQ2 was for cereals, fish or seafood, and n-3 fatty acids (7·6 %). Alcoholic drinks had the highest percentage of reasonable classification, same or adjacent quintile, in FFQ1 and FFQ2 (86·4 %).

Conclusions Our study suggests that FFQ reproducibility is acceptable for participants who answered the same questionnaire twice less than 1 year apart. Participants who answered FFQ more than 1 year apart showed worse values on reproducibility. We consider this Spanish FFQ as an important, valid and reproducible tool in nutritional epidemiology.

(Received January 12 2009)

(Accepted November 26 2009)

(Online publication January 28 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email