Relative validity of a food frequency questionnaire to assess nutrient intake in pregnant women




To date, there are no food frequency questionnaires that have been validated to assess nutrient intakes in pregnant women in Ireland. The present study aimed to assess the relative validity of a self-administered food frequency questionnaire during pregnancy.


The food frequency questionnaire was administered once during pregnancy between 12 and 34 weeks. Participants also completed a 3-day food diary during each trimester of pregnancy (reference method) and intakes from both the food frequency questionnaire and the mean of the 3-day food diaries were compared in a sample of 130 participants from the control arm of an intervention study.


Energy-adjusted Pearson's correlation coefficients ranged from 0.24 (riboflavin) to 0.59 (magnesium) and were all statistically significant (P < 0.05). The food frequency questionnaire tended to report higher energy and nutrient intakes compared to the food diaries. On average, 74% of participants were classified into the same ± 1 quartile and 7% into opposing quartiles by the two methods.


Overall, our food frequency questionnaire showed good relative validity. We conclude that a single administration of a food frequency questionnaire is a valid tool for ranking women in accordance with their nutrient intakes during pregnancy.