Online dietary assessment of children

Validation of a web-based questionnaire to assess the dietary intake of Brazilian children aged 7–10 years

Davies et al., JHND Early View



The Food Intake and Physical Activity of School Children (CAAFE) comprises an online questionnaire to self-report diet and physical activity of Brazilian schoolchildren.


The present study aimed to assess the validity (matches, omissions and intrusions) and moderating factors of the CAAFE.


Direct observation was made of foods consumed (five public schools) and child self-reporting on the CAAFE. Additional data included school grade, gender, body mass index, completion of food diary, socioeconomic status and access to computer. Data were analysed using regression.


In total, 602 children participated in the study [mean (SD) age 9.5 (1.24) years; 53.6% boys]. On average, there were 43% matches, 29% intrusions and 28% omissions. Matches doubled in third grade compared to the second grade (P = 0.004); matches almost tripled for afternoon snack compared to morning snack (P < 0.001); and matches were 69% higher for children with access to a computer at home (P < 0.01). Intrusions decreased by almost one-half in fifth compared to fourth grades (P = 0.004). Omissions declined significantly in the third and fourth grades but increased in the fifth grade. Omissions were 47% lower for children in the highest income and lower among children who completed the food diary. No differences were found for gender or body mass index.


Children older than 8 years old, who owned a computer and completed a food diary, performed better in the CAAFE. A high incidence of disagreement was found in relation to the schools and the type of meal. Overall matches (43%), intrusions (29%) and omissions (28%) indicate that further studies are required to improve the validity of the CAAFE.

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