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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Diet History Questionnaire: Database Revision History

Alternate Version Available

You are viewing the web site for the original version of the DHQ. The latest version for the U.S. is the DHQ III; however, DHQ III does not yet have a Canadian version. The Canadian version of DHQ II is still available.

The following details all additions and revisions made to the DHQ nutrient and food database. This revision history is provided as a reference for investigators who may have performed analyses with a previous release of the database. The contents of the current database are listed in Nutrient and Dietary Constituents and Pyramid Food Groups.

March 10, 2009 (dhq1.database.d031009.csv)

Errors in MPED and SUGAR values have been corrected. Flavanoid and isoflavone values have been added.

March 28, 2006 (dhq1_032806.csv)

The values for the NDS-R based nutrients Total dietary fiber, Insoluble fiber, and Soluble dietary fiber were corrected for coffee, regular and decaf.

August 17, 2004 (dhq1_081704.csv)

Glycemic Load was added to the database. All nutrients and groups included in previously released databases are also included; no changes were made to their values.

December 24, 2003 (dhq1_122403.csv)

The revisions made for this release include the addition of nutrients to the database and modifications to previously included nutrients using updated methods to compute units.

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The foundation of the nutrient database for the DHQ comes from the USDA survey nutrient food codes found in the 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII)1. Through a matching process overseen by Dr. Beth Dixon (currently at NYU, but previously at NCI) in conjunction with Thea Zimmerman at Westat, survey food codes required to create the DHQ database in CSFII were matched to a food code within the University of Minnesota's Nutrient Data System for Research (NDS-R). NDS-R has an extensive database that includes more nutrients than are available from the USDA survey food codes. It was through this process, documented in a recent publication2, that both tocopherols and carotenoids were added to the DHQ.

Specific Additions/Changes

  1. There are very minor changes to all the nutrients values due to refinements in programming.
  2. The order of the nutrients in the Diet*Calc database was modified to better group like or related nutrients and to place all NDS-R based nutrients at the end.
  3. There is a fix to the number of pyramid servings counted for French fries based on discussions with USDA. This change will serve to lower values for pyramid servings of white potatoes and total vegetables.
  4. Because the USDA data assumed white grapefruit as the default for all grapefruit intake, a fix was devised to allow for carotenoid values for both pink and white grapefruit to be included. No national data were available to determine whether pink or white grapefruit are eaten more frequently, therefore, the nutrient values for these two varieties were equally weighted to compute values for the database.
  5. Improved labels for nutrients. Most nutrients are based on CSFII data. Those nutrients added from NDS-R data, are now clearly labeled as, "(NDS-R)." For the few nutrients for which there exists both CSFII and NDS-R values, the phrase, "(CSFII)," was added to the label.
  6. Clearly marked units have been included for retinol activity equivalents (RAE).
  7. We have updated all NDS-R based nutrients using the most recent database (NDS-R 4.06_34) and have added 15 new nutrients from NDS-R:
    1. Vitamin A, total activity (mcg RAE)
    2. Beta carotene equivalents (mcg)
    3. Vitamin E - total alpha-tocopherol (mg)
    4. Methionine (g)
    5. Folate (mcg)
    6. Dietary folate equivalents (mcg)
    7. Natural food folate (mcg)
    8. Synthetic folate (mcg)
    9. Total dietary fiber (g)
    10. Insoluble fiber (g)
    11. Soluble dietary fiber (g)
    12. Total trans-fatty acids (g)
    13. 16:1 Trans-hexadecenoic acid (g)
    14. 18:1 Trans-octadecenoic acid (g)
    15. 18:2 Trans-octadecadienoic acid (g)

    Please note: if you are using the NDS-R-based values for individual carotenoids, tocopherols, or folates, and you are also interested in the corresponding total intakes of vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin E, or folate, it is best if you use the NDS-R-based values in all cases because the parts and the sums will be based on the same nutrient database.

  8. In the latest version of NDS-R, what was previously considered to be vitamin E (in alpha-tocopherol equivalents (ATE)) was revised based on the recent DRI report, "Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids." The new vitamin E value included in NDS-R and in the current Diet*Calc database consists of alpha-tocopherol (mg) only. Other tocopherols previously included in the calculation of vitamin E activity are no longer considered to have any vitamin E activity. So, while the previous version of Diet*Calc had a value for both vitamin E (ATE) and alpha-tocopherol (mg), the current version has a value for vitamin E that consists of alpha-tocopherol only -- they are one in the same. The database no longer has two separate values for vitamin E and alpha-tocopherol.
  9. The values for vitamin A and beta-carotene coming from vitamin supplements have been updated to reflect the most recent conversions recommended in the recent DRI report, "Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids." Units are now in retinol activity equivalents (RAE).


  1. Subar AF, Midthune D, Kulldorff M, Brown CC, Thompson FE, Kipnis V, Schatzkin A. An evaluation of alternative approaches to assigning nutrient values to food groups in food frequency questionnaires. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152;279-286.
  2. Dixon LB, Zimmerman TP, Kahle LL, Subar AF. Adding carotenoids to the NCI Diet History Questionnaire Database. J Food Comp Anal. 2003;16:269-280.

January 17, 2003 (dhq1_011703.csv)

This database contains all nutrients and groups included in previously released databases. No changes were made to their values. The following nutrients were added:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E Activity
  • Alpha-Tocopherol
  • Beta-Tocopherol
  • Delta-Tocopherol
  • Gamma-Tocopherol

A column labeled "Median FoodAmt" was removed from the file. This was an intermediate calculation that was not intended for distribution or use in analysis.

April 24, 2002 (dhq1_042402.csv)

This database includes all nutrients and groups released in the January 12, 2000 database. No changes were made to their values. The following nutrients were added:

  • Alpha-Carotene
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Beta-Cryptoxanthin
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  • Lycopene

November 21, 2000 (dhq1_112100.csv)

This database was released with version 1.0 of the Diet*Calc software.