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Nutrients 2016, 8(9), 528; doi:10.3390/nu8090528

Development of a Semi-Quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire to Assess the Dietary Intake of a Multi-Ethnic Urban Asian Population

1
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore 117549
2
Research and Evaluation Department, Research and Strategic Planning Division, Health Promotion Board, Singapore 168937
3
Research and Strategic Planning Division, Health Promotion Board, Singapore 168937
4
Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore 117549
5
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 July 2016 / Revised: 19 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 27 August 2016
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Abstract

Assessing habitual food consumption is challenging in multi-ethnic cosmopolitan settings. We systematically developed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in a multi-ethnic population in Singapore, using data from two 24-h dietary recalls from a nationally representative sample of 805 Singapore residents of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity aged 18–79 years. Key steps included combining reported items on 24-h recalls into standardized food groups, developing a food list for the FFQ, pilot testing of different question formats, and cognitive interviews. Percentage contribution analysis and stepwise regression analysis were used to identify foods contributing cumulatively ≥90% to intakes and individually ≥1% to intake variance of key nutrients, for the total study population and for each ethnic group separately. Differences between ethnic groups were observed in proportions of consumers of certain foods (e.g., lentil stews, 1%–47%; and pork dishes, 0%–50%). The number of foods needed to explain variability in nutrient intakes differed substantially by ethnic groups and was substantially larger for the total population than for separate ethnic groups. A 163-item FFQ covered >95% of total population intake for all key nutrients. The methodological insights provided in this paper may be useful in developing similar FFQs in other multi-ethnic settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: food frequency questionnaire; FFQ; development; methodology; multi-ethnic; dietary assessment; nutrition food frequency questionnaire; FFQ; development; methodology; multi-ethnic; dietary assessment; nutrition
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Neelakantan, N.; Whitton, C.; Seah, S.; Koh, H.; Rebello, S.A.; Lim, J.Y.; Chen, S.; Chan, M.F.; Chew, L.; van Dam, R.M. Development of a Semi-Quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire to Assess the Dietary Intake of a Multi-Ethnic Urban Asian Population. Nutrients 2016, 8, 528.

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