Using Online 24-h Dietary Methodology to Validate the Psychometric Properties of a Dietary Scoring Tool with an International Sample of Adults Living with Multiple Sclerosis

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Understanding the dietary characteristics of people living with multiple sclerosis (plwMS) may assist in the planning of nutrition interventions for multiple sclerosis; yet dietary assessment methods in existing studies are not well established. The aim of this study was to validate the psychometric properties (construct validity and internal consistency) of the Dietary Habits Questionnaire (DHQ) against repeated online 24-h recall dietary assessments. The DHQ is a 24-item tool that is scored using ten dietary sub-scores. Total DHQ scores can range from 20–100 and are considered indicative of the quality of dietary intake with higher scores reflecting increased quality. People living with a relapsing-remitting MS phenotype who had completed a modified DHQ were recruited from the international Health Outcomes and Lifestyle In a Sample of people with Multiple sclerosis (HOLISM) cohort. Repeated 24-h recall via the online Automated Self-administered Assessment-24 (ASA-24) tool were modelled to reflect usual dietary intakes using the Multiple Source Method. DHQ scores of eight sub-scores: three key nutrients, three food groups and two food preparation practices, were calculated and statistically compared with ASA-24 usual intake data. Principal component analysis of the ASA-24 data was undertaken to understand dietary patterns of the sample. Of the 105 participants, valid 24-h recall data were available for 96 plwMS (n = 66 1 day, n = 30 ≥ 2 day). The median total DHQ score was 84.50 (IQR: 77.04, 91.83) points. The highest absolute correlations were between the DHQ scores and ASA-24 data for cereal (r = 0.395, p < 0.001), fruit and vegetables (r = 0.436, p < 0.001), and total dietary fiber (r = 0.482, p < 0.001). Five dietary patterns emerged from the data explaining 42.12% variance and reflecting exposure of plwMS to the influence of ‘MS diets’. The DHQ appears to be appropriate for screening participants with relapsing-remitting MS. Evidence-based dietary models focusing on food are required to monitor the quality of an overall dietary pattern and set priorities for the planning nutrition interventions for plwMS.

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Multiple Sclerosis Australia



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