FAQs

Which foods and nutrients does the questionnaire measure?

The questionnaire estimates the intake of energy and all the macro- and micro-nutrients in the standard UK food composition tables. Intake of other nutrients e.g. fatty acids or flavonoids, and of specific foods or food groups (as grams/day), may be available on request.

Can the questionnaire be used to estimate snacking or other aspects of eating behaviour?

As the questionnaire does not ask about times of eating, it is not possible to determine if a food can be classified as a snack. For example it could not be determined if a packet of crisps is eaten with or apart from a meal.

How long does the FFQ take to complete?

The questionnaire takes around 20 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on the participant and their diet.

Completed questionnaires should be inspected soon after completion to check for missing responses. A means of contacting participants for missing information should be in place.

How long does entering the data from the FFQ take?

When familiar with the data entry package and standard operating procedures for data entry, a trained researcher could enter 5-6 FFQs per hour.

Are there shorter versions of the FFQ available?

No. As the FFQ aims to estimate total daily intake of all foods and nutrients, a comprehensive list of foods is needed.

Does the FFQ come in a web based version?

Yes: respondents can be emailed a link to a webpage with the same questions as the paper FFQ.

A web-based interface for researchers to enter data is also available for those using paper-based questionnaires. 

Can we alter the measurement timeframe for the FFQ?

Yes, the default time-frame of 'the past 2-3 months' can be altered e.g. to 'during pregnancy' or 'prior to diagnosis'. This may incur additional charges for printing.

Can the questionnaire be combined with other lifestyle questionnaires e.g. on smoking or physical activity as a larger single booklet?

No. The FFQ is a stand-alone booklet which requires focussed thinking about diet, so we believe it requires completion as a single task.

Can the questionnaire be used for screening individual participants prior to study?

While the questionnaire is not designed for providing absolute intakes of nutrients for individuals, it is possible in some cases to categorise potential participants by levels of intake of particular food groups or nutrients, for example high and low consumers of fruit and vegetables. If you are thinking of using the FFQ for this purpose we would be happy to provide further advice.

Can the questionnaire be used to survey ethnic minorities?

The questionnaire is designed to estimate intake for consumers of typical British or Irish diets.  If the questionnaire was used to estimate intake in people from an ethnic minority with a fairly similar diet, it might be possible to use it with some changes to the food list and validation in that population. Please speak to us for more advice.

Do we need to submit the FFQ with an application to an ethics committee?

We recommend including the FFQ in an application to an ethics committee. We would further suggest that you mention in the application that you may contact participants after completion to obtain any missing data. This will allow you to increase the number of questionnaires you can include in your analysis.

Can we obtain an electronic version of the questionnaire to print ourselves?

No: we want to maintain the quality of the reproduction, particularly of the colour food photo of food measures, so always supply printed copies.

How do we reference the FFQ  in a journal article?

Please give the FFQ version and website and refer to the most appropriate validation study for your version of the FFQ.