Evaluation of validity of items for a food behavior checklist

Suzanne P. Murphy, Lucia L. Kaiser, Marilyn S. Townsend, Lindsay H. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate the validity of food behavior items, using a biological measure (serum carotenoids) as the criterion for validity of fruit and vegetable intake, and the results from multiple 24-hour recalls to test convergent validity with nutrient intake. Design: Participants responded to 39 food-behavior questions and later completed three 1-day dietary recalls. Serum carotenoid levels were determined for a 59% randomly selected subsample. Subjects/setting: A convenience sample of 100 English-speaking, low-income women participating in a Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program in 8 California counties. Statistical analyses: Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated between responses to the food behavior items and (a) serum carotenoid levels and (b) mean nutrient intakes from the 24-hour recalls. Cronbach's coefficient α was determined for items within broad food behavior topics. Results: Responses to 10 food behavior items were significantly correlated with serum carotenoid levels (correlations greater than 0.45 were found for choosing low-fat foods and a self-evaluation of overall dietary quality). An additional 12 items showed hypothesized associations with the 24-hour recall data (with a maximum correlation 0.50 for number of eggs per week and dietary cholesterol). Cronbach's coefficient α ranged from 0.28 (for 5 fat and cholesterol items) to 0.79 (for 9 fruit and vegetable items). Applications/Conclusions: Nutrition professionals can use these methods to validate items for food behavior checklists for specific populations. The items described here may be useful when designing instruments to administer to low-income women in a community setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-756
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine(all)


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