Development and Functionality of a Parsimonious Digital Food Frequency Questionnaire for a Clinical Intervention among an Indigenous Population

Kathleen Abu-Saad*, Moran Accos, Arnona Ziv, Fiona Collins, Carrington Shepherd, Sandra Eades, Ofra Kalter-Leibovici

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nutrition-related chronic diseases are a major problem among Indigenous populations. Appropriate dietary intake assessment tools are needed for nutritional surveillance and intervention; however, tools designed to measure the habitual dietary intake of Indigenous persons are largely lacking. We developed a digital food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to measure habitual consumption among Australian Aboriginal adults and support personalized nutrition counseling. The primary contributors to energy, select nutrients, and inter-person variation (83 food groups) were identified from nationally representative 24 h recall (24HR) data, and they accounted for >80% of the total intake and inter-person variation of the nutrients of interest. Based on community input, a meal-based FFQ format was adopted, with a main food/beverage list of 81 items and the capacity to report on >300 additional items via the digital platform. The nutrient database was based on the Australian Food and Nutrient Database. Data for the first 60 study participants (70% female; median age: 48 years) were used to assess the FFQ’s utility. The participants’ median [IQR] reported energy intake (10,042 [6968–12,175] kJ/day) was similar to their median [IQR] estimated energy expenditure (10,197 [8636–11,551] kJ/day). Foods/beverages on the main FFQ list accounted for between 66% and 90% of the participants’ reported energy and nutrient intakes; the remainder came from participant-selected extra items. The digital FFQ platform provides a potentially valuable resource for monitoring habitual dietary intake among Aboriginal adults and supporting chronic disease prevention and management interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5012
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2023


FundersFunder number
National Health and Medical Research CouncilAPP1151848


    • Australian Aboriginal adults
    • Indigenous populations
    • cultural adaptation
    • digital dietary assessment tools
    • food frequency questionnaire


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