With the advent of Internet-based 24-hour recall (24HR) instruments, it is now possible to envision their use in cohort studies investigating the relation between nutrition and disease. Understanding that all dietary assessment instruments are subject to measurement errors and correcting for them under the assumption that the 24HR is unbiased for usual intake, here the authors simultaneously address precision, power, and sample size under the following 3 conditions: 1) 1-12 24HRs; 2) a single calibrated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ); and 3) a combination of 24HR and FFQ data. Using data from the Eating at America's Table Study (1997-1998), the authors found that 4-6 administrations of the 24HR is optimal for most nutrients and food groups and that combined use of multiple 24HR and FFQ data sometimes provides data superior to use of either method alone, especially for foods that are not regularly consumed. For all food groups but the most rarely consumed, use of 2-4 recalls alone, with or without additional FFQ data, was superior to use of FFQ data alone. Thus, if self-administered automated 24HRs are to be used in cohort studies, 4-6 administrations of the 24HR should be considered along with administration of an FFQ.
Carroll RJ, Midthune D, Subar AF, Shumakovich M, Freedman LS, et al. (2012) Taking Advantage of the Strengths of 2 Different Dietary Assessment Instruments to Improve Intake Estimates for Nutritional Epidemiology. American Journal of Epidemiology 175: 340–347. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwr317.
Dr. Raymond J. Carroll’s research was supported by a grant (R37-CA057030) from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Carroll was also supported by Award KUS-CI-016-04 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Dr. Laurence S. Freedman was supported by the National Institutes of Health (under contract HHSN261200633000).