British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Validation of energy intake by 24-hour multiple pass recall: comparison with total energy expenditure in children aged 5–7 years

Colette Montgomerya1, John J. Reillya1 c1, Diane M. Jacksona2, Louise A. Kellya1, Christine Slatera1, James Y. Patona1 and Stan Granta3

a1 University of Glasgow Division of Developmental Medicine, Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow, G3 8SJ, UK

a2 Division of Energy Balance and Obesity, Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9SB, UK

a3 Faculty of Biological and Life Sciences, West Medical Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK


Accurate measurement of energy intake (EI) is essential in studies of energy balance in all age groups. Reported values for EI can be validated against total energy expenditure (TEE) measured using doubly labelled water (DLW). Our previous work has indicated that the use of the standardized 24 h multiple pass recall (24 h MPR) method produces slight overestimates of EI in pre-school children which are inaccurate at individual level but acceptable at group level. To extend this work, the current study validated EI by 24 h MPR against TEE by DLW in sixty-three (thirty-two boys) school-aged children (median age 6 years). In both boys and girls, reported EI was higher than TEE, although this difference was only significant in the girls (median difference 420 kJ/d, P=0·05). On analysis of agreement between TEE and EI, the group bias was an overestimation of EI by 250 kJ/d with wide limits of agreement (−2880, 2380 kJ/d). EI was over-reported relative to TEE by 7 % and 0·9 % in girls and boys, respectively. The bias in the current study was lower than in our previous study of pre-school children, suggesting that estimates of EI become less inaccurate as children age. However, the current study suggests that the 24 h MPR is inaccurate at the individual level.

(Received September 09 2004)

(Revised December 17 2004)

(Accepted January 10 2005)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr John J. Reilly, fax +44 (0)141 201 9275, email