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Open Access Research

A novel online Food Recall Checklist for use in an undergraduate student population: a comparison with diet diaries

Fiona Comrie*, Lindsey F Masson and Geraldine McNeill

Author Affiliations

Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, UK

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Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:13  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-13

Published: 19 February 2009

Abstract

Background

University students are commonly overlooked when diet of populations is measured and there is a lack of comprehensive dietary assessment in whole university student populations. To measure diet of undergraduate students, a new online 121-item Food Recall Checklist (FoRC) was designed as an alternative to a non-weighed record (food diary). This article reports the comparison between the new dietary assessment method (FoRC) and the food diary as a measure of energy (kJ), fat (g), Non-Starch Polysaccharide (NSP) (g), fruit and vegetables (g), breakfast cereal (g) and bread (g) and alcohol (units) intake.

Methods

Fifty-three students at the University of Aberdeen completed four days of FoRC then four days food diary. Median agreement and correlation between the two methods was assessed for foods and nutrients using the Spearman's rank correlation co-efficient and the Wilcoxon signed ranks test. Agreement between FoRC and food diary was assessed using the Bland-Altman method.

Results

The mean time taken to complete FoRC for one day was 7.4 minutes. Intakes of fat (g and % food energy), NSP and bread were similar between FoRC and the food diary. Median energy intake was 8185 kJ in the food diary and 8007 kJ in FoRC. However, FoRC recorded significantly lower intakes of energy and alcohol and significantly higher intakes of fruit and vegetables and breakfast cereal compared with the food diary. There was considerable variation in agreement between methods at the individual level. For all variables except alcohol and percentage energy from fat, correlation co-efficients were statistically significant and greater than 0.5.

Conclusion

At the group level, four days of FoRC showed good median agreement with the food diary and there was high correlation between methods for most foods and nutrients. This suggests that this novel method of assessing diet can provide a useful alternative for assessing group mean intakes but that individual intakes may need to be interpreted with care.