Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: In the UK EPIC validation studies, the accuracy of several methods was assessed by comparison with to-day weighed records and the biomarkers, 24-hour urine nitrogen (N) and potassium (K), plasma carotenoids and plasma vitamin C. METHODS: Comparisons between methods were made on 156 women, studied over 1 year at 3-monthly intervals at home. On each of four occasions, volunteers completed 4 days of weighed records and provided two 24-hour urine collections and a fasting blood sample. RESULTS: In comparison with the 16 days of weighed records, a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) yielded higher values mainly due to greater reported consumption of milk and of vegetables. A 24-hour recall was as good as the FFQ in placing individuals in the distribution of habitual diet from weighed records. Results obtained from a 7-day estimated record were closest to those obtained from the weighed record. Correlations between 24-hour urine excretion and dietary N intake from weighed records were high (0.78-0.87) as were those with estimated food diaries (0.60-0.70). Correlations between urine N and the FFQ and 24-hour recall were lower (0.10 to 0.27), but improved by energy adjustment using residuals for N and K which are correlated with total energy intake. Comparisons between dietary estimates and urinary K and serum carotenoids and vitamin C showed broadly similar results. Limited biomarker information amongst 200 UK EPIC participants supported the findings of the validation study. CONCLUSIONS: UK EPIC uses three methods (the 7-day diary, an improved FFQ, and the 24-hour recall) to assess diet. 93% of first food diaries are returned completed by participants. Repeated diaries are the main dietary assessment method for nested case-control analyses.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date



26 Suppl 1


S137 - S151


Aged, Ascorbic Acid, Biomarkers, Carotenoids, Cohort Studies, Diet, Diet Surveys, Epidemiologic Methods, Female, Humans, Mental Recall, Middle Aged, Nitrogen, Potassium, Reproducibility of Results, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom