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Validation of a self-completion measure of breakfast foods, snacks and fruits and vegetables consumed by 9- to 11-year-old schoolchildren



To evaluate the validity and reliability of a dietary recall questionnaire, designed for group-level comparisons of foods eaten at breakfast and intake of fruits, vegetables, sweet items and crisps.


Validity was assessed relative to 24-h dietary recall interviews, and reliability by comparing the baseline data with 4-month follow-up data.

Subjects and setting:

Fifty-eight schools took part in the validity assessments, with 374 children completing both measures. Reliability was assessed using 29 schools, with 1233 children at baseline and 1033 at follow-up. Children were aged 9–11 years and schools were located in socio-economically deprived areas of Wales.


Results indicated moderate to substantial agreements for most foods eaten at breakfast on the day of reporting and fair to moderate agreements for breakfast foods the previous day. For items throughout the rest of the previous day, agreement was fair to substantial during school hours, but slight after school. Correlations were moderate in terms of ‘healthy’ items and ‘unhealthy’ items consumed at breakfast on the day of reporting, but weaker for the previous breakfast. Correlations between measures in terms of fruits, vegetables, sweet items and crisps throughout the rest of the previous day were fair to moderate. The measure demonstrated fair to substantial group-level reliability.


The questionnaire, while subject to a number of limitations, gives an adequately valid and reliable overview of selected aspects of children's diet. It is likely to be of value at group-level in randomized controlled trials of school-based interventions.


The research was funded by the Public Health Improvement Division of the Welsh Assembly Government.

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Laurence Moore is supported by a Public Health Career Scientist Award funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. We thank Emily Harrop, Lorelei Simon, Iolo Madoc-Jones, Julian Buchanon and Joan Ashdown-Lambert for help with data collection, Zoe Macdonald for administrative assistance and Odette Parry for contributions to project management and data collection. We also thank Janine Hale and Ruth Conway for their continued support and assistance and the Welsh Assembly Government for funding the research. In addition, we gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of all school staff, pupils and parents for participating in this study.

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Correspondence to G F Moore.

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Guarantors: GF Moore and K Tapper.

Contributors: KT, SM, RC, RL and LM developed and piloted the measure. RC, GM and KT developed the coding frame. GM prepared the data and carried out statistical analyses. GM and KT drafted the paper. All authors contributed to the final paper.

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Moore, G., Tapper, K., Murphy, S. et al. Validation of a self-completion measure of breakfast foods, snacks and fruits and vegetables consumed by 9- to 11-year-old schoolchildren. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 420–430 (2007).

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