A three-day weighed food record and a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire are valid measures for assessing the folate and vitamin B-12 intakes of women aged 16 to 19 years

Timothy J. Green, O. Brian Allen, Deborah L. O'Connor

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53 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to validate a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a 3-d weighed food record (3d-WFR) by comparing nutrient intakes estimated using these methods with serum folate, RBC folate and serum vitamin B-12 concentrations in 105 females aged 16-19 y. During an early morning clinic visit, subjects completed a self-administered, 116-item FFQ, blood was collected and they were trained to complete a 3d-WFR. Folate intakes as determined by the 3d-WFR (r = 0.65, P < 0.01) exhibited a stronger association with serum folate than did intakes from the FFQ (r = 0.48, P < 0.01) (P = 0.017). The correlations between folate intakes and RBC folate as determined by the FFQ (r = 0.42, P < 0.01) and 3d-WFR (r = 0.50, P < 0.01) methods did not differ. Vitamin B-12 intakes showed only a modest association with serum vitamin B-12 when supplement users were included in the analyses (FFQ, r = 0.25, P < 0.05; 3d-WFR, r = 0.32, P < 0.05). After excluding supplement users from the analyses, the relationship between vitamin B-12 intakes as determined by FFQ and serum vitamin B-12 was no longer significant. Median daily folate intakes (346 vs. 212 μg) and vitamin B-12 (4.9 vs, 1.9 μg) estimated from the FFQ were higher than those obtained from the 3d-WFR. In sum, these data suggest that both the FFQ and 3d-WFR are valid measures of assessing the folate intake of young women, and both appear to be useful in determining vitamin B-12 intake when supplemental users are included. The markedly different conclusions about absolute folate and vitamin B-12 intakes obtained using these two dietary methodologies should be taken into consideration when making recommendations about optimal folate intakes in relation to disease prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1665-1671
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary assessment
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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