Validation of four questions on food habits from the Swedish board of health and social welfare by 3-day food records in medical and nursing students
Background: The Swedish board for health and social welfare (SoS) has presented four questions on dietary habits as indicators of adherence to dietary recommendations. However, these questions have not been evaluated.
Objective: To evaluate if four questions on dietary habits correlate with dietary intake assessed by food records.
Design: A total of 279 medical and nursing students, 170 women and 109 men, completed four questions on usual consumption frequency of vegetables, fruits, fish, and sweets. Depending on scoring from 0 to 12 points, subjects were classified as having low (0–4 points), average (5–8 points), or high (9–12 points) adherence to dietary recommendations as proposed by SoS. Nutrient intake was calculated from 3-day food records. Mean dietary intake, expressed per 10 MJ of fibre, ascorbic acid, folate, vitamin D, sucrose, fish, and fruits and vegetables, was analysed for each group and differences assessed by ANOVA.
Results: Energy intake was 11.8±3.0 MJ in male and 8.5±2.2 MJ in female students. Most students, 64%, were classified as average adherers to dietary recommendations, whereas only 6% were classified as low and 30% as high. Dietary intake of fibre, ascorbic acid, and folate was significantly higher in the high adherence group compared to both the other groups (p<0.01), but vitamin D significantly so only compared to the average group (p=0.002). Intake of fruits and vegetables was significantly different between all groups (p<0.003), with increasing amounts with increasing adherence. The low adherence group had higher intake of sucrose than the other groups (p<0.005). Median fish intake was nil in the low and average adherence groups, with significant difference between high and average adherence groups (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Four questions on the consumption frequency of vegetables, fruits, fish, and sweets correlate well with the dietary intake of fibre, ascorbic acid, folate, vitamin D, fish, sucrose, and fruits and vegetables as assessed by 3-day food records in health-conscious medical and nursing students.
Keywords: food habits; food questionnaire; food record; nutrition recommendations
(Published: 31 October 2014)
Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2014, 58: 23438 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v58.23438
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