The following outcomes can be assessed using a dietary checklist:
A checklist that is designed for a specific purpose tends to be less detailed in contrast to other methods. The outcomes measured by a dietary checklist depend upon the design. Any outcomes can be assessed if targeted as indicated in Table D.2.17. For example:
A checklist can be used for an assessment of group-level exposure to certain foods in a certain environment. For example:
Table D.2.17 Dietary outcomes assessed by dietary checklist.
|Dietary dimension||Possible to assess?*|
|Energy and nutrient intake of total diet||No|
|Intake of specific nutrients or food||Yes|
|Infrequently consumed foods||Yes|
|Frequency of eating/meal occasions||Yes|
|Adult report of diet at younger age||Yes|
* all are possible, except for the first one, but dependent on how a checklist is developed and how it is implemented with or without repeats.
A dietary checklist can be either self-administered or interviewer-administered. A dietary checklist includes elements of a food frequency questionnaire (as it is based on a pre-printed food list). Respondents examine a list of foods, supplements, or other dietary items and cross-tabulate with attributes such as specified serving size (e.g. slices, teaspoons) or frequency of consumption or both, ticking the box appropriately. An example of a dietary checklist is displayed in Figure D.2.6.
An assessor can administer a checklist to a respondent through face-to-face or phone interview, alternatively it may be preferable or required to send a checklist to a respondent through post or email and request him/her to complete it and send it back.
Use of blank space for each item and for an entire list is helpful to encourage a respondent to provide any information such as specific dietary patterns (e.g. vegan, a habit related to a religion, being on a weight-loss diet), alternative serving sizes for certain foods, and his/her key foods not listed. Sub-sections for a specific setting, e.g. ‘eating out and takeaway’ section, may help, depending on aims of a checklist.
Figure D.2.6 Example of dietary checklist from the Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey study. Note that this is one of five pages completed per day.
Screening individuals for a specific dietary problem or intervention, for example:
Categorical or continuous answers to each item, such as
Answers can be combined for the purpose of a checklist
Table D.2.18 Characteristics of dietary checklists.
|Number of participants||Any|
|Cost of development||Low|
|Cost of use||Low|
|Researcher burden of data collection||Low|
|Researcher burden of coding and data analysis||Low|
|Risk of reactivity bias||Yes|
|Risk of recall bias||Yes|
|Risk of social desirability bias||Yes|
|Risk of observer bias||Yes|
|Participant literacy required||Depends on whether interviewing or not|
|Suitable for use in free living||Yes|
|Requires individual portion size estimation||Depends on design|
Considerations relating to the use of dietary checklists for assessing diet in specific populations are described in Table D.2.19.
Table D.2.19 Suitability of dietary checklists in different populations.
|Infancy and lactation||Requires proxy|
|Toddlers and young children||May require proxy or adult assistance|
|Older Adults||May require proxy depending on cognitive function|
|Ethnic groups||Suitable, if developed for the purpose|
A method specific instrument library is being developed for this section. In the meantime, please refer to the overall instrument library page by clicking here to open in a new page.
As a checklist can be flexible and tailored for a specific research aim, developing a checklist is often the last step in designing a study after all variables of interest have been identified. As a general rule in a questionnaire method, the following attributes should be confirmed:
Points to consider when drafting questions (adapted from ):
Whenever available and appropriate, the development needs to account for outcomes from dietary studies previously conducted in the same or similar populations. In the phase of finalising a checklist, a mock implementation is essential to confirm a time to complete and ease of completing the checklist.