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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Daily Food Checklist

The daily food checklist method is a form of food record. The tool is comprised of a list of foods; over the course of a day, a respondent makes a check beside a food each time she or he eats it. The checklist shares an advantage of other record methods in that it does not rely on memory. In addition, it avoids some disadvantages of complete quantitative food records in that it has relatively low respondent and investigator burden. Furthermore, analyses of 30 consecutive days of checklist reports from the 1996-97 NCI America's Menu Study showed that the act of checking items on a list did not change the behaviors it was assessing. This "low reactivity" is not found with complete quantitative food records, which have been found to be highly reactive.

A checklist instrument can be used as a stand-alone instrument or it can be used in conjunction with another instrument. NCI staff are examining the use of a checklist instrument to calibrate food frequency information obtained from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). In preliminary analyses of the Observing Protein and Energy Nutrition (OPEN) Study, we have found that reported energy and protein estimates are closer to true intake when the FFQ is used in conjunction with checklist-type information (derived from two 24-hour recalls) than when the FFQ is used alone.

After several rounds of cognitive testing, NCI has developed a machine scannable seven-day checklist [PDF - 235 KB] instrument to be coupled with NCI's FFQ, the Diet History Questionnaire II (DHQ II). The instrument has been administered in Re-OPEN, a new study in which OPEN participants have been contacted again and asked to complete additional dietary assessment instruments. We are analyzing whether its use in conjunction with the DHQ II improves accuracy of self-reported dietary information.