Background and objective A culture-specific web-based food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to assess dietary intake in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) adult population was developed using data from the 2009-2010 national nutrition survey. The objective of this study was to assess the relative validity of the newly developed FFQ for use in the adult Emirati population (AE-FFQ), which contained a list of 139 food lines. Methods A convenient sample of 60 (36 females and 24 males) adult Emiratis completed 3 non-consecutive 24HRs over a period of one month, followed by the AE-FFQ, which assessed the intake over the previous month. Relative validity was evaluated by comparing nutrient and food group intakes from the AE-FFQ with the average three 24HRs using Wilcoxon signedrank tests, Spearman's correlation coefficients (CC), Bland-Altman analysis, and crossclassification. Results The AE-FFQ overestimated energy and most nutrients and food groups. Bland-Altman analysis showed significant proportional bias between the 2 methods. Deattenuated energy-adjusted Spearman correlation coefficients were poor to good ranging from 0.06 (iron) to 0.62 (fiber) for nutrients, 0.39 median value, and from -0.01 (cruciferous vegetables) to 0.64 (eggs) for food groups, 0.41 median value. A fairly acceptable agreement was obtained, with correct classification into the same or adjacent quartile ranging from 34% (vitamin B12) to 78% (pyridoxine), median 69% for nutrients and from 55% (diet soft drinks) to 87% (soft drinks), median 67% for food groups. Conclusions The AE-FFQ is an acceptable tool for ranking UAE adults (aged 18 to 50) according to their dietary intake to investigate the role of Emirati dietary patterns on health and disease. Caution is needed for assessing absolute intake, however, given the bias observed in assessing group-level agreement.
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