Reproducibility of dietary intakes of macronutrients, specific food groups, and dietary patterns in 211 050 adults in the UK Biobank study.
Carter JL., Lewington S., Piernas C., Bradbury K., Key TJ., Jebb SA., Arnold M., Bennett D., Clarke R.
To detect modest associations of dietary intake with disease risk, observational studies need to be large and control for moderate measurement errors. The reproducibility of dietary intakes of macronutrients, food groups and dietary patterns (vegetarian and Mediterranean) was assessed in adults in the UK Biobank study on up to five occasions using a web-based 24-h dietary assessment (n 211 050), and using short FFQ recorded at baseline (n 502 655) and after 4 years (n 20 346). When the means of two 24-h assessments were used, the intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) for macronutrients varied from 0·63 for alcohol to 0·36 for polyunsaturated fat. The ICC for food groups also varied from 0·68 for fruit to 0·18 for fish. The ICC for the FFQ varied from 0·66 for meat and fruit to 0·48 for bread and cereals. The reproducibility was higher for vegetarian status (κ > 0·80) than for the Mediterranean dietary pattern (ICC = 0·45). Overall, the reproducibility of pairs of 24-h dietary assessments and single FFQ used in the UK Biobank were comparable with results of previous prospective studies using conventional methods. Analyses of diet-disease relationships need to correct for both measurement error and within-person variability in dietary intake in order to reliably assess any such associations with disease in the UK Biobank.