Use of Diet History Questionnaire in Pregnancy

by Dr. Simi Paknikar on  March 29, 2012 at 3:09 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
A study in Japan indicates that a diet history questionnaire has acceptable accuracy and reproducibility in assessing vitamin B12 and folate intake in pregnant women.
Use of Diet History Questionnaire in Pregnancy
Use of Diet History Questionnaire in Pregnancy

Vitamin B12 and folate are two important micronutrients in the diet that are essential during pregnancy for the normal development of the fetus. It is important that these micronutrients be taken in adequate amounts for proper development of the fetus.

How does one assess if the intake of these micronutrients in the diet is adequate? The simplest way to do so is by recording the intake on a questionnaire. However, currently, there are no validated questionnaires to measure vitamin B12 and folate intake.

A study was conducted in Japan to validate the usability and reproducibility of a self-administered diet history questionnaire (DHQ) in pregnant women. The 22-page questionnaire measures intake of energy, folate and vitamin B12 over the past 1 month.

The study was conducted in 2 hospitals in Japan. Women in their second trimester, that is, between four and six months of pregnancy, were included in the study. Blood samples to measure vitamin B12 and folate levels were taken along with the blood samples routinely obtained during pregnancy. Each woman was given the questionnaire, which was completed within 7 days of the blood sample.

To assess whether the results of the questionnaire are reproducible, some women were asked to complete the questionnaire twice during the study.

The final analysis was carried out on data from 167 pregnant women. Reproducibility was determined based on the questionnaires submitted by 58 women.

The study found that there was some correlation between intake and serum levels of vitamin B12 and folate. Thus, the DHQ can be used as a screening test in pregnant women in Japan to detect vitamin B12 and folate deficiency. This is especially true for women without nausea. The results were found to be reproducible when repeated twice in some participants. The study, however, does have its limitations. Further studies may be required to establish the routine use of the diet history questionnaire in pregnant women in Japan and elsewhere.


1. Mie Shiraishi et al. Validity and reproducibility of folate and vitamin B12 intakes estimated from a self-administered diet history questionnaire in Japanese pregnant women. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:15 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-15.

Source: Medindia

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