Development, validity, and reliability of a food frequency questionnaire for antioxidants in elderly Iranian people

Mahsa Malekahmadi, Amirmansour Alavi Naeini, Sakineh Shab-Bidar, Awat Feizi, Abolghasem Djazayery


Background: The food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), as a way to assess the dietary intake in comparison with other methods, is easier to analyze and takes less time and is less costly. Our aim in this study was to develop and validate an FFQ for estimating the intakes of selected antioxidants in elderly Iranian people. Materials and Methods: A total of 185 elderly people were randomly selected. Three-day food records were completed by the subjects and collected every 2 months and dietary intake levels of zinc, selenium, carotenes and vitamins C and E were estimated. Based on the food records data, geographic location, and age, an FFQ was designed to estimate antioxidant intakes during 1 year. In addition, for controlling energy intake, 2-day food records were also collected with the food frequency questionnaire. To assess the reliability, 40 individuals were asked to complete the FFQ twice with an interval of 3 months in between. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) between the two FFQs for antioxidant C, antioxidant E, carotene, selenium, and zinc were 0.62, 0.47, 0.51, 0.54, and 0.58, respectively (P < 0.05). In addition, Pearson correlation coefficients between the FFQ and the food records, after controlling energy for vitamin C, vitamin E, carotene, selenium, and zinc, were 0.46, 0.48, 0.38, 0.55, and 0.47 respectively (P < 0.001). Conclusion: According to the results of this study, considering the fact that the FFQ was designed for the elderly and the special conditions (patience, memory, etc.) and vulnerability of this age group, the questionnaire is relatively valid and reliable to use.


Key words: Antioxidants, elderly, food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), reliability, validity

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