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Advances in technology enabled the development of a web-based, pictorial FFQ to collect parent-report dietary intakes of 7-year-old children in the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes study. This study aimed to compare intakes estimated from a paper-FFQ and a web-FFQ and examine the relative validity of both FFQ against 3-d diet records (3DDR). Ninety-two mothers reported food intakes of their 7-year-old child on a paper-FFQ, a web-FFQ and a 3DDR. A usability questionnaire collected participants’ feedback on the web-FFQ. Correlations and agreement in energy, nutrients and food groups intakes between the dietary assessments were evaluated using Pearson’s correlation, Lin’s concordance, Bland–Altman plots, Cohen’s κ and tertile classification. The paper- and web-FFQ had good correlations (≥ 0·50) and acceptable-good agreement (Lin’s concordance ≥ 0·30; Cohen’s κ ≥ 0·41; ≥ 50 % correct and ≤ 10 % misclassification into same or extreme tertiles). Compared with 3DDR, both FFQ showed poor agreement (< 0·30) in assessing absolute intakes except micronutrients (web-FFQ had acceptable-good agreement), but showed acceptable-good ability to classify children into tertiles (κ ≥ 0·21; ≥ 40 % and ≤ 15 % correct or misclassification). Bland–Altman plots suggest good agreement between web-FFQ and 3DDR in assessing micronutrients and several food groups. The web-FFQ was well-received, and majority (81 %) preferred the web-FFQ over the paper-FFQ. The newly developed web-FFQ produced intake estimates comparable to the paper-FFQ, has acceptable-good agreement with 3DDR in assessing absolute micronutrients intakes and has acceptable-good ability to classify children according to categories of intakes. The positive acceptance of the web-FFQ makes it a feasible tool for future dietary data collection.
There is limited data on the dietary patterns of 5-year-old children in Asia. The study examined childhood dietary patterns and their maternal and child correlates in a multi-ethnic Asian cohort. Based on caregiver-reported 1-month quantitative FFQ of 777 children from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort, cluster analysis identified two mutually exclusive clusters. Children in the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (43·9 %) consumed more fries, processed meat, biscuits and ice cream, and less fish, fruits and vegetables compared with those in the ‘Healthy’ cluster (56·1 %). Children with mothers of lower educational attainment had twice the odds of being assigned to the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (adjusted OR (95 % CI) = 2·19 (95 % CI 1·49–3·24)). Children of Malay and Indian ethnicities had higher odds of being assigned to the ‘Unhealthy’ cluster (adjusted OR = 25·46 (95 % CI 15·40, 42·10) and 4·03 (95 % CI 2·68–6·06), respectively), relative to Chinese ethnicity. In conclusion, this study identified two dietary patterns in children, labelled as the ‘Unhealthy’ and ‘Healthy’ clusters. Mothers’ educational attainment and ethnicity were two correlates that were associated with the children’s assignments to the clusters. These findings can assist in informing health promotion programmes targeted at Asian children.
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