Development and validation testing of a short nutrition questionnaire to identify dietary risk factors in preschoolers aged 12–36 months
Background: Although imbalances in dietary intakes can have short and longer term influences on the health of preschool children, few tools exist to quickly and easily identify nutritional risk in otherwise healthy young children.
Objectives: To develop and test the validity of a parent-administered questionnaire (NutricheQ) as a means of evaluating dietary risk in young children (12–36 months).
Design: Following a comprehensive development process and internal reliability assessment, the NutricheQ questionnaire was validated in a cohort of 371 Irish preschool children as part of the National Preschool Nutrition Survey. Dietary risk was rated on a scale ranging from 0 to 22 from 11 questions, with a higher score indicating higher risk.
Results: Children with higher NutricheQ scores had significantly (p<0.05) lower mean daily intakes of key nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, folate, phosphorous, potassium, carotene, retinol, and dietary fibre. They also had lower (p<0.05) intakes of vegetables, fish and fish dishes, meat and infant/toddler milks and higher intakes of processed foods and non-milk beverages, confectionery, sugars and savoury snack foods indicative of poorer dietary quality. Areas under the curve values of 84.7 and 75.6% were achieved for ‘medium’ and ‘high’ dietary risk when compared with expert risk ratings indicating good consistency between the two methods.
Conclusion: NutricheQ is a valid method of quickly assessing dietary quality in preschoolers and in identifying those at increased nutritional risk.
Keywords: preschool children; toddlers; nutrient-poor diets; dietary quality; screening tools; nutritional risk
(Published: 8 June 2015)
Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2015, 59: 27912 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v59.27912
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