NutricheQ Questionnaire assesses the risk of dietary imbalances in toddlers from 1 through 3 years of age

  • Giuseppe S. Morino
  • Giulia Cinelli
  • Ilaria Di Pietro
  • Vittoria Papa
  • Nicola Spreghini
  • Melania Manco Children's Hospital Bambino Gesù
Keywords: preschooler, diet, dietary deficiency, micronutrient intake, nutritional questionnaire, iron, vitamin D deficiency


Background: Although a nutrient-poor diet may affect children’s growth, especially early in life, few tools to assess dietary imbalances in 1- to 3-year-old children have been developed.

Objectives: To investigate the accuracy and test–retest reliability of the NutricheQ Questionnaire in the identification of toddlers with the risk of inadequate intake of micro- and macronutrients in a sample of Italian toddlers.

Design: A 3-day weighed food record was performed, and results were compared with outcomes of the NutricheQ Questionnaire in 201 toddlers (training set: 1–3 years old). The accuracy of NutricheQ in the identification of categories of nutritional risk was evaluated using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Test–retest of the tool was estimated using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and the Cronbach’s alpha statistic, in a validation set of 50 toddlers.

Results: The NutricheQ Questionnaire is a valid tool for the identification of toddlers at risk for dietary imbalances. Significant differences in nutrient intake (p<0.005) were found among the three groups of risk identified by the questionnaire: toddlers included in the high-risk group had a lower intake of key nutrients such as iron, vitamin D and other vitamins, and fibre compared to those included in the low-risk group. NutricheQ is also reliable between administrations, as demonstrated by its test–retest reliability. ICC and Cronbach’s alpha were 0.73 and 0.83, respectively, for Section 1 of NutricheQ, and 0.55 and 0.70 for Section 2.

Conclusions: The NutricheQ Questionnaire is a reliable and consistent tool for the assessment of possible dietary risk factors in Italian toddlers. It consistently identifies toddlers with a high probability of having poor iron and vitamin D intake, and other dietary imbalances.

Keywords: preschooler; diet; dietary deficiency; micronutrient intake; nutritional questionnaire; iron; vitamin D deficiency

(Published: 18 Decedmber 2015)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2015, 59: 29686 -


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How to Cite
Morino G. S., Cinelli G., Di Pietro I., Papa V., Spreghini N., & Manco M. (2015). NutricheQ Questionnaire assesses the risk of dietary imbalances in toddlers from 1 through 3 years of age. Food & Nutrition Research, 59.
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