Telephone vs face-to-face interviews for quantitative food frequency assessment

Li Ching Lyu, Jean H. Hankin*, Lucy Q. Liu, Lynne R. Wilkens, James H. Lee, Marc T. Goodman, Laurence N. Kolonel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To develop and test a quantitative food frequency method for administration by telephone. Design: A comparison study of telephone and face-to-face interviews was conducted among a representative sample of the five major ethnic groups in Oahu, Hawaii. Two interviews were administered 4 to 6 months apart by trained interviewers using identical questionnaires and color photographs of food items showing three different portion sizes. The order of the interviewing methods was randomly assigned. The questionnaire included 115 food items selected to estimate 80% or more of usual dietary intakes. Frequencies and quantities of each item consumed during the past year were obtained. Subjects/setting: Subjects were recruited from the Health Surveillance Program of the Hawaii State Department of Health and consisted of 167 men and 158 women aged 45 to 74 years, who provided a telephone number. Eighty percent of the face-to-face interviews were conducted in the subjects' homes and 20% were conducted at the workplace or the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center, if requested. Statistical analyses The paired t test was used to compare the mean daily intakes obtained by the telephone and face-to-face methods. Agreement was measured by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), Pearson correlation coefficient, and weighted κ statistic. Results: The means of energy and each nutrient were slightly higher in the first interview than the second, regardless of the interviewing method. Because of close correspondence among all 3 statistical measures of agreement, only the ICCs are reported. The ICCs ranged from .61 for protein and vitamin A to .69 for dietary cholesterol among men, and from .61 for vitamin C to .74 for saturated fat among women. Agreement was not significantly affected by age, gender, ethnicity, order of interview, or educational level. Applications: Telephone interviews to obtain quantitative food frequencies are cost-efficient methods for estimating usual dietary intakes among persons in widely scattered geographic areas. Photographs of the foods in 3 portion sizes mailed in advance help the respondents estimate amounts eaten.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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