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Table 4 Summary of FFQs and their characteristics

From: A systematic review of methods to assess intake of saturated fat (SF) among healthy European adults and children: a DEDIPAC (Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity) study

Authors/Study Type/# items Purpose Population Ref. period Mode Categories Portion estimated? (Yes/No)
 Esteve et al. [40] Semi-quantitative dietary questionnaire Test association between diet and cancers of the larynx and hypopharynx Adults
Age range not reported
12 months Face-to-face interview Structured by meals, i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as early morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late evening snacks Yes.
Assessed separately.
Usual portion size estimated during interview
 Food Habits in Later Life [27, 41] Semi-quantitative FFQ
# not reported
Test association of food habit with good health Adults/Elderly
70+ years
12 months Face-to-face interview 3 categories
Ranging from daily to weekly and monthly
Assessed in line
Portion sizes were specified in units thought to be the most appropriate for the given food
 Food4Me [42,43,44] Semi-quantitative Web-based 157-item FFQ. Determine impact of personalised dietary advice on eating patterns and health outcomes Adults
18–79 years
Previous month Self-administered 9 categories.
Ranging from ‘Never or less than once a month’, to ‘5–6 times per day’, and ‘> 6 times per day’
3 photographs representing small, medium, and large portions.
Participants could select one of the following options: very small, small, small/medium, medium, medium/large, large, or very large which were linked electronically to portion sizes (in grams)
 HAPIEE [45] Semi-quantitative
Czech = 136-item FFQ
Russian = 147-item FFQ
Polish = 148-item FFQ
Test association between socio-economic indicators and diet Adults
45–69 years
Previous three months Interview (Russia & Poland)
Self-administered. (Czech Republic)
9 categories.
Ranging from ‘Never’ to ‘Six or more times per day’
Open-ended section where they could add any further foods not listed
Assessed in-line
A country-specific portion size for each food was specified
Participants were asked how often, on average, they had consumed a ‘medium serving’ of the items – defined as about 100 g or 50 g depending on the food in question
 IMMIDIET [31, 46] Semi-quantitative
322- item
EPIC-Italy FFQ (as above)
EPIC-UK FFQ (as above)
Identify determinants (diet, genetic) of risk of myocardial infarction
Determine role of dietary patterns in plasma and red blood cell fatty acids variation
26–65 years
12 months Self-administered 9 categories.
Ranging from ‘Never/rarely’; ‘1–3 days/month’ to ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,7 days per week’
Assessed separately
Recorded as absolute weights or as household measurements
Photo book to estimate small, average, and large portions for spreads, bread spreads, and milk in coffee and tea
 PURE [32, 49] Semi-quantitative FFQ (country-specific)
[Long Polish FFQ = 153-item
[Short Polish FFQ = 134-item]
Examine the impact of societal influences on chronic non-communicable diseases Adults
30–70 years
12 months Self-administered [based on copy of Polish questionnaire]
9 categories:
Ranging from ‘Never’ to ‘> 6/day’
[based on copy of Polish questionnaire]
Assessed in-line
Participants asked to report frequency of consumption of an average portion e.g. in case of ‘Butter’ (2 heaped Tbs), ‘Margarine’ (1 Tsp)
 IDEFICS [30, 61] Non-quantitative.
43-item FFQ
Determine the aetiology of overweight, obesity and related disorders Children
2–9 years (parents or guardians as proxies)
Typical week over the previous month Self-administered 8 categories.
Ranging from ‘Never/less than once a week’ to ‘4 or more times per day’. ‘I have no idea’ was also an option.
 Piqueras et al. [62] Semi-quantitative FFQ
# items not reported
Examine association of dietary habits and child size Children
4 years
Not reported Self-administered Not reported Yes.
FFQ described portion size for adults but they used portion sizes appropriate for children as informed by diet record data collected for similar aged children in the UK
  1. FFQ Food Frequency Questionnaire, HELENA Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence, HAPIEE Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial factors in Eastern Europe, IDEFICS Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS, PURE Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology