Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

The Summer Meeting of the Nutrition Society hosted by the Scottish Section, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.28 June–1 July 2010,

Conference on ‘Nutrition and health: cell to community’

Nutrition Society Silver Medal Lecture

Development and use of FFQ among adults in diverse settings across the globe

Sangita Sharmaa1 c1

a1 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, 8308-114 St, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2V2, Canada


In nutritional epidemiology, development of valid dietary assessment instruments specific to populations in diverse settings is of paramount importance. Such instruments are essential when trying to characterise dietary patterns and intake, investigate diet–disease associations, inform and evaluate nutrition interventions, assess nutrient–gene interactions, conduct cross-country comparison studies and monitor nutrition transitions. The FFQ is a relatively inexpensive tool for measuring long-term dietary intake for large populations and for allowing researchers to track dietary changes over time. However, FFQ must be population specific to capture the local diet and available foods. Collecting 24-h dietary recalls and utilising community feedback to build the FFQ ensures that a culturally appropriate instrument is developed. This article presents several examples describing FFQ development and utilisation in different settings globally. In the Canadian Arctic, FFQ were developed and utilised to inform and evaluate a community-based intervention programme, characterise the diet and track dietary changes occurring among Inuit and Inuvialuit, populations experiencing rising rates of chronic disease and likely to be extremely vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change. Another example is an FFQ developed to assess sodium intake and evaluate a sodium reduction trial in a high-risk population in Barbados. An example is provided from Brazil, where an FFQ was developed to assess associations between diet, heterocyclic aromatic amines and colorectal adenoma among Japanese Brazilians and to conduct cross-country comparisons. These and other case studies highlight the diversity in dietary intake between populations and the need for FFQ to be developed to capture this diversity.

(Online publication February 01 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Professor Sangita Sharma, fax 780 492 3018, email