The Comparative Validity and Reproducibility of a Diet Quality Index for Adults: The Australian Recommended Food Score
Adult diet quality indices are shown to predict nutritional adequacy of dietary intake as well as all-cause morbidity and mortality. This study describes the reproducibility and validity of a food-based diet quality index, the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS). ARFS was developed to reflect alignment with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and is modelled on the US Recommended Food Score. Dietary intakes of 96 adult participants (31 male, 65 female) age 30 to 75 years were assessed in two rounds, five months apart. Diet was assessed using a 120-question semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The ARFS diet quality index was derived using a subset of 70 items from the full FFQ. Reproducibility of the ARFS between round one and round two was confirmed by the overall intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.87 (95% CI 0.83, 0.90), which compared favourably to that for the FFQ at 0.85 (95% CI 0.80, 0.89). ARFS was correlated with FFQ nutrient intakes, particularly fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C (0.53, 95% CI 0.37–0.67), and with mineral intakes, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium (0.32, 95% CI 0.23–0.40). ARFS is a suitable brief tool to evaluate diet quality in adults and reliably estimates a range of nutrient intakes.