Validity of an online 24-hour recall tool (myfood24) for dietary assessment in population studies: comparison with biomarkers and standard interviews

Petra A Wark, Laura J Hardie, Gary S Frost, Nisreen A Alwan, Michelle Carter, Paul Elliott, Heather E Ford, Neil Hancock, Michelle A Morris, Umme Z Mulla, Essra A Noorwali, K Petropoulou, David Murphy, Gregory DM Potter, Elio Riboli, Darren C Greenwood, Janet E Cade

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    Online dietary assessment tools can reduce administrative costs and facilitate repeated dietary assessment during follow-up in large-scale studies. However, information on bias due to measurement error of such tools is limited. We developed an online 24-h recall (myfood24) and compared its performance with a traditional interviewer-administered multiple-pass 24-h recall, assessing both against biomarkers.

    Metabolically stable adults were recruited and completed the new online dietary recall, an interviewer-based multiple pass recall and a suite of reference measures. Longer-term dietary intake was estimated from up to 3 × 24-h recalls taken 2 weeks apart. Estimated intakes of protein, potassium and sodium were compared with urinary biomarker concentrations. Estimated total sugar intake was compared with a predictive biomarker and estimated energy intake compared with energy expenditure measured by accelerometry and calorimetry. Nutrient intakes were also compared to those derived from an interviewer-administered multiple-pass 24-h recall.

    Biomarker samples were received from 212 participants on at least one occasion. Both self-reported dietary assessment tools led to attenuation compared to biomarkers. The online tools resulted in attenuation factors of around 0.2–0.3 and partial correlation coefficients, reflecting ranking intakes, of approximately 0.3–0.4. This was broadly similar to the more administratively burdensome interviewer-based tool. Other nutrient estimates derived from myfood24 were around 10–20% lower than those from the interviewer-based tool, with wide limits of agreement. Intraclass correlation coefficients were approximately 0.4–0.5, indicating consistent moderate agreement.

    Our findings show that, whilst results from both measures of self-reported diet are attenuated compared to biomarker measures, the myfood24 online 24-h recall is comparable to the more time-consuming and costly interviewer-based 24-h recall across a range of measures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number136 (2018)
    Number of pages15
    JournalBMC Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2018

    Bibliographical note

    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated


    • Nutrition assessment
    • Online
    • Biomarkers
    • Validation
    • Nutritional epidemiology
    • Nutrient intake
    • Food
    • Diet
    • Adult


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