Objective: To evaluate a two-page food frequency list for use as a Dietary Targets Monitor in large scale surveys to quantify consumptions of the key foods groups targeted in health promotion.
Design: Intakes of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods and fish estimated from a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) were compared with a short food frequency list (the Dietary Targets Monitor) specifically designed to assess habitual frequency of consumption of foods in relation to dietary targets which form the basis of a National (Scottish) Food and Health Policy.
Subjects: A total of 1085 adults aged 25-64y from the Glasgow MONICA Study.
Results: The two questionnaires both collected data on frequencies of food consumption for fruit and vegetables, starchy foods and fish. Comparing the two questionnaires, there were consistent biases, best expressed as ratios (FFQ:Dietary Targets Monitor) between the methods for fruit and vegetables (1.33, 95% CI 1.29, 1.38) and 'starchy foods' (1.08, 95% CI 1.05, 1.12), the DTM showing systematic under-reporting by men. For fish consumption, there was essentially no bias between the methods (0.99, 95% CI 0.94, 1.03). Using calibration factors to adjust for biases, the Dietary Targets Monitor indicated that 16% of the subjects were achieving the Scottish Diet food target (400 g/day) for fruit and vegetable consumption. Nearly one-third (32%) of the subjects were eating the recommended intakes of fish (three portions per week). The Dietary Targets Monitor measure of starchy foods consumption was calibrated using FFQ data to be able to make quantitative estimates: 20% of subjects were eating six or more portions of starchy food daily. A similar estimation of total fat intake and saturated fat intake (g/day) allowed the categorization of subjects as low, moderate or high fat consumers, with broad agreement between the methods. The levels of agreement demonstrated by Bland-Altman analysis, were insufficient to permit use of the adjusted DTM to estimate quantitative consumption in smaller subgroups.
Conclusions: The Dietary Targets Monitor provides a short, easily administered, dietary assessment tool with the capacity to monitor intakes for changes towards national dietary targets for several key foods and nutrients.
Sponsorship: Scottish Office Health Department.