Validation of a web-based questionnaire to assess the dietary intake of Brazilian children aged 7–10 years

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Abstract

Background:

The Food Intake and Physical Activity of School Children (CAAFE) comprises an online questionnaire to self-report diet and physical activity of Brazilian schoolchildren.

Background:

The present study aimed to assess the validity (matches, omissions and intrusions) and moderating factors of the CAAFE.

Methods:

Direct observation was made of foods consumed (five public schools) and child self-reporting on the CAAFE. Additional data included school grade, gender, body mass index, completion of food diary, socioeconomic status and access to computer. Data were analysed using regression.

Results:

In total, 602 children participated in the study [mean (SD) age 9.5 (1.24) years; 53.6% boys]. On average, there were 43% matches, 29% intrusions and 28% omissions. Matches doubled in third grade compared to the second grade (P = 0.004); matches almost tripled for afternoon snack compared to morning snack (P < 0.001); and matches were 69% higher for children with access to a computer at home (P < 0.01). Intrusions decreased by almost one-half in fifth compared to fourth grades (P = 0.004). Omissions declined significantly in the third and fourth grades but increased in the fifth grade. Omissions were 47% lower for children in the highest income and lower among children who completed the food diary. No differences were found for gender or body mass index.

Conclusions:

Children older than 8 years old, who owned a computer and completed a food diary, performed better in the CAAFE. A high incidence of disagreement was found in relation to the schools and the type of meal. Overall matches (43%), intrusions (29%) and omissions (28%) indicate that further studies are required to improve the validity of the CAAFE.

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