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Development, validation and utilisation of food-frequency questionnaires – a review

  • Janet Cade (a1), Rachel Thompson (a2), Victoria Burley (a1) and Daniel Warm (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2007

The purpose of this review is to provide guidance on the development, validation and use of food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs) for different study designs. It does not include any recommendations about the most appropriate method for dietary assessment (e.g. food-frequency questionnaire versus weighed record).


A comprehensive search of electronic databases was carried out for publications from 1980 to 1999. Findings from the review were then commented upon and added to by a group of international experts.


Recommendations have been developed to aid in the design, validation and use of FFQs. Specific details of each of these areas are discussed in the text.


FFQs are being used in a variety of ways and different study designs. There is no gold standard for directly assessing the validity of FFQs. Nevertheless, the outcome of this review should help those wishing to develop or adapt an FFQ to validate it for its intended use.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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