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.11.1. 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.11.1 Dietary outcomes assessed by dietary checklist.
|Possible to assess?*
|Energy and nutrient intake of total diet
|Intake of specific nutrients or food
|Infrequently consumed foods
|Frequency of eating/meal occasions
|Adult report of diet at younger age
* all are possible, except for the first one, but dependent on how a checklist is developed, and whether 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) and frequency of consumption, or both, ticking the boxes appropriately. An example of a dietary checklist is displayed in Figure D.11.1.
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 the aims of a checklist.
Figure D.11.1 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.11.2 Characteristics of dietary checklists.
|Number of participants
|Cost of development
|Cost of use
|Researcher burden of data collection
|Researcher burden of coding and data analysis
|Risk of reactivity bias
|Risk of recall bias
|Risk of social desirability bias
|Risk of observer bias
|Participant literacy required
|Depends on whether interviewing or not
|Suitable for use in free living
|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.11.3.
Table D.11.3 Suitability of dietary checklists in different populations.
|Infancy and lactation
|Toddlers and young children
|May require proxy or adult assistance
|May require proxy depending on cognitive function
|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.