Validation of a FFQ to estimate the intake of PUFA using plasma phospholipid fatty acids and weighed foods records

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Due to the growing knowledge about the role of specific fatty acids in health and disease, dietary intake measurements of individual fatty acids or classes of fatty acids are becoming increasingly important. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of the Nambour FFQ to estimate intakes of specific fatty acids, particularly PUFA. The study population was a sub-sample of adult participants in a randomised controlled trial of β-carotene and sunscreen in the prevention of skin cancer (n 43). Dietary intake was assessed by a self-administered FFQ and a weighed food record (WFR). Non-fasting blood samples were collected and analysed for plasma phospholipid fatty acids. Median intakes on the FFQ were generally higher than the WFR except for the n-3 PUFA groups, where the FFQ estimated higher intakes. Correlations between the FFQ and WFR were moderate (r 0–32-0-59) except for trans fatty acids (r 0–03). Correlations between each of the dietary assessment methods and the plasma phospholipids were poor for all fatty acids other than the PUFA. Using the methods of triads approach, the FFQ validity coefficients for total n-3 fatty acids, total long chain n-3 fatty acids, EPA, arachidonic acid, docosapentaenoic acid and DHA were 0–50, 0–63, 0–45 and 0–62 and 0–62, respectively. For most fatty acids, the FFQ adequately estimates group mean fatty acid intakes and can adequately rank individuals; however, the ability of this FFQ to estimate trans fatty acids was poor.

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