Relative validation of a short food frequency questionnaire to assess calcium intake in older adults

Emma Clover, Michelle Miller, Elaine Bannerman, Anthea Magarey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for estimating calcium intake in community-dwelling older adults using a food record as the reference method.

METHOD: A validation study involving 102 subjects (67 females) aged > or =65 years and residing independently in Adelaide, Australia, between 2002-06 was performed. Estimates of calcium intake over the last year were calculated from two versions (35 and 15 items) of the FFQ and compared with average intake from four days of non-consecutive food records (4DFR).

RESULTS: Mean calcium intake from the 4DFR was 987 mg/day (95% CI 922-1051). The 35 and 15-item questionnaires gave mean intakes of 992 mg/day (95% CI 913-1,071) and 1017 mg/day (95% CI 927-1,106) respectively. Mean difference (95% limits of agreement) between the food record and the 35 and 15-item questionnaires was 5 mg (-739-729) and 28 mg (-936-879) respectively. The 15-item questionnaire demonstrated 82% sensitivity for classifying subjects with calcium intake below the estimated average requirement (EAR, 840 mg for males 51-70 years; 1,100 mg for females >51 years and males >70 years of age) and 46% specificity for classifying subjects with intake above the EAR.

CONCLUSION: The FFQ evaluated as part of this study is one of very few that has been tested across both genders and in older adults specifically. The 15-item version has demonstrated a level of sensitivity and specificity comparable with other FFQs for evaluating calcium intake.

IMPLICATIONS: The 15-item FFQ can be confidently used for measuring group mean calcium intake in older Australians or as a screening tool to allow health professionals to identify those who are most at risk of inadequate dietary calcium intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-8
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2007

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aged
  • Calcium/administration & dosage
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • South Australia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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