The present diet part involves questions on intake of food
groups such as milk and dairy products, bread, meat, fish, fruits and
vegetables. It also involves questions on selective food intake such as oat
meal porridge, blood/liver sausage, rye bread and cod liver oil. There are also
specific questions such as those asked to assess the type of dairy products
used and also the degree of saltiness preferred.
Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs) are significant tools
used in nutritional epidemiological studies but, most of the FFQs used on the
elderly are actually those designed for younger subjects.
Therefore, evaluating the validity of food frequency
questionnaire (FFQs) on elderly subjects is quintessential before they are used
in studies carried out to assess diet-related disease risks and health
Assessing the dietary intake of older individuals has
always remained a challenge. This may be due to their fading memory, visual and
auditory impairment or impaired cognitive function.
Although short questionnaires are not as informative as
long ones they are adequate enough to assess the intake of specific foods and
categorize individuals according to selective nutrients.
The AGES-FFQ is a short
food frequency questionnaire that has been specially designed for the elderly.
AGES- Reykjavik study involving 5,764 elderly participants. AGES stands for Age
Gene-Environment Susceptibility and the study evaluates risk factors, genetic
susceptibility, gene/environment interaction (particularly diet) and the
influence these factors have on disease and disability in the aged. The
AGES-FFQ has queries regarding a person's diet during early life, midlife and
The aim of the present study is to assess the validity and
ability of the AGES-FFQ to categorize individuals according to their intake of
selective foods and food groups.
The subjects were elderly people 65 years and older of
which 58.6% were female. Exclusion criteria involved sub-standard cognitive
function, certain skeletal diseases, uncontrolled CHD, administration of
testosterone or certain other specific drugs known to influence muscle mass.
The participants were required to answer the AGES-FFQ and
then fill out a 3-day weighed food form within two weeks time. They also answered
questions regarding their exercise regime, quality of life with special
emphasis on health and also regarding their supplement intake such as vitamins,
herbal medicine or other drugs.
The AGES-FFQ was then compared with the reference method
(weighed food record). Weighed food records are considered the "gold standard"
in validating food questionnaires and the elderly are quite adept at
maintaining these records.
the case of mena correlation
[greater than or equal to] 0.4 was found for potatoes, oatmeal/muesli, fresh
fruits, cakes/cookies, dairy products, milk, candies, pure fruit juice, coffee,
tea, cod liver oil and sugar in coffee/tea (r = 0.40-0.71). A lower, but
acceptable, correlation was discovered in the case of raw vegetables (r =
the case of women, the highest correlation was found for the intake of rye
bread, oatmeal/muesli, candy, raw vegetables, dairy products, milk, cod liver
oil, pure fruit juice, coffee and tea (r = 0.40-0.61) while an acceptable
correlation was found for fish topping/salad, blood/liver sausage, fresh
fruits, whole-wheat bread, and sugar in coffee/tea (r = 0.28-0.37).
questions regarding meat/fish meals, cooked vegetables and soft drinks did not
show a significant correlation to the reference method. However these questions
must not be discarded as irrelevant and must be further probed.
of the questions that feature in the AGES-FFQ had an acceptable correlation and
may be employed to rank elderly individuals in accordance to their intake of
significant foods/food groups and their impact on health. However, it is not
useful in assessing total food intake, nutrients or energy.
1. Assessing validity of
a short food frequency questionnaire on present dietary intake of elderly
Icelanders; Tinna Eysteindottir et al;BMC Nutrition Journal 2012.