Objective A simple FFQ which ranks young children's dietary habits is necessary for population-based monitoring and intervention programmes. The aim of the present study was to determine the reliability and validity of a short FFQ to assess the dietary habits of young children aged 2–5 years.
Design Parents completed a seventeen-item FFQ for their children by telephone on two occasions, two weeks apart. Sixty-four parents also completed 3 d food records for their children. The FFQ included daily servings of fruit and vegetables, frequency of eating lean meat, processed meats, take-away food, snack foods (biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, muesli bars), potato crisps and confectionery, and cups of soft drinks/cordials, juice, milk and water. Weighted kappa and intra-class correlation coefficients were used to assess FFQ reliability and the Bland–Altman method was used to assess validity of the FFQ compared with the 3 d food record.
Setting Seven pre-school centres in metropolitan Sydney, Australia.
Subjects Seventy-seven children aged 2–5 years.
Results The majority of questions had moderate to good reliability: κ w ranged from 0·37 (lean meat) to 0·85 (take-away food consumption). Validity analysis showed a significant increase in mean values from the food record with increasing ordered categories from the FFQ for servings of vegetables and fruit and cups of drinks (all trend P ≤ 0·01). Spearman rank correlation coefficient was >0·5 for vegetables, fruit, diet soft drinks and fruit juice.
Conclusions The FFQ provides reliable and moderately valid information about the dietary intakes and habits of children aged 2–5 years, in particular for fruit, vegetables and beverages.