Baxter SD, Thompson WO, Litaker MS, Frye FH, Guinn CH. Low accuracy and low consistency of fourth-graders' school breakfast and school lunch recalls. J Am Diet Assoc 2002 Mar;102(3):386-95.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the accuracy and consistency of fourth-graders' school breakfast and school lunch recalls obtained during 24-hour recalls and compared with observed intake. DESIGN: Children were interviewed using a multiple-pass protocol at school the morning after being observed eating school breakfast and school lunch. SUBJECTS: 104 children stratified by ethnicity (African-American, white) and gender were randomly selected and interviewed up to 3 times each with 4 to 14 weeks between each interview. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Match, omission, and intrusion rates to determine accuracy of reporting items; arithmetic and/or absolute differences to determine accuracy for reporting amounts; total inaccuracy to determine inaccuracy for reporting items and amounts combined; intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) to determine consistency. RESULTS: Means were 51% for omission rate, 39% for intrusion rate, and 7.1 servings for total inaccuracy. Total inaccuracy decreased significantly from the first to the third recall (P=0.006). The ICC was 0.29 for total inaccuracy and 0.15 for omission rate. For all meal components except bread/grain and beverage, there were more omissions than intrusions. Mean arithmetic and absolute differences per serving in amount reported for matches were -0.08 and 0.24, respectively. Mean amounts per serving of omissions and intrusions were 0.86 and 0.80, respectively. APPLICATIONS/CONCLUSIONS: The low accuracy and low consistency of children's recalls from this study raise concerns regarding the current uses of dietary recalls obtained from children. To improve the accuracy and consistency of children's dietary recalls, validation studies are needed to determine the best way(s) to interview children.

Full Text

The full text is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0002-8223(02)90089-1

At A Glance

Individual Dietary Behavior Variables

Reported foods consumed


Individual Dietary Behavior

Measure Type

24-hour dietary recall

Measure Availability

Not reported

Number of Items

Not applicable

Study location


Richmond County



Information about Development of Measure

Nothing to add

Study Design

Study Participants


6 - 11 Years






Black/African American

Predominantly Low-income/Low-SES


Sample Size


Study Design

Design Type


Health Outcomes Assessed


Obesity Measures

Not applicable

BMI Measured or Self-reported

Not applicable


Not reported

Data Reported on Race/Ethnicity

Quantitative data on study sample

Data Reported on SES

Quantitative data for community or area

SES-related Variables

Program Participation (e.g., WIC, Free/Reduced School Meals)

How To Use


Who Administered


How Administered


Time Required

average 15 minutes

Training Required

Yes, time not reported

Instructions on Use

Not reported

Data Analysis

Data Collection/Analysis Costs

Not available

Data Collection/Protocol

Not available

Instructions on Data Analysis

Not reported

Validity (3)

Type of validity Construct/subscale assessed Criterion measure used Test/statistic used Result
Criterion 24-hour recall-intrusions Observations Intrusion rate 24%
Criterion 24-hour recall-overall matches with observation method Observations Percent agreement 35%
Criterion 24-hour recall-omissions Observations Omission rate 41%

Reliability (2)

Type of reliability Construct/subscale assessed Test/statistic used Result
Internal Consistency 24-hour recall-omission rates Intraclass correlation coefficients 0.15, p<0.04
Internal Consistency 24-hour recall-total inaccuracy Intraclass correlation coefficients 0.29