Fulkerson JA, Nelson MC, Lytle L, Moe S, Heitzler C, Pasch KE. The validation of a home food inventory. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2008 Nov 4;5:55.


BACKGROUND: Home food inventories provide an efficient method for assessing home food availability; however, few are validated. The present study's aim was to develop and validate a home food inventory that is easily completed by research participants in their homes and includes a comprehensive range of both healthful and less healthful foods that are associated with obesity. METHODS: A home food inventory (HFI) was developed and tested with two samples. Sample 1 included 51 adult participants and six trained research staff who independently completed the HFI in participants' homes. Sample 2 included 342 families in which parents completed the HFI and the Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ) and students completed three 24-hour dietary recall interviews. HFI items assessed 13 major food categories as well as two categories assessing ready-access to foods in the kitchen and the refrigerator. An obesogenic household food availability score was also created. To assess criterion validity, participants' and research staffs' assessment of home food availability were compared (staff = gold standard). Criterion validity was evaluated with kappa, sensitivity, and specificity. Construct validity was assessed with correlations of five HFI major food category scores with servings of the same foods and associated nutrients from the DHQ and dietary recalls. RESULTS: Kappa statistics for all 13 major food categories and the two ready-access categories ranged from 0.61 to 0.83, indicating substantial agreement. Sensitivity ranged from 0.69 to 0.89, and specificity ranged from 0.86 to 0.95. Spearman correlations between staff and participant major food category scores ranged from 0.71 to 0.97. Correlations between the HFI scores and food group servings and nutrients on the DHQ (parents) were all significant (p < .05) while about half of associations between the HFI and dietary recall interviews (adolescents) were significant (p < .05). The obesogenic home food availability score was significantly associated (p < .05) with energy intake of both parents and adolescents. CONCLUSION: This new home food inventory is valid, participant-friendly, and may be useful for community-based behavioral nutrition and obesity prevention research. The inventory builds on previous measures by including a wide range of healthful and less healthful foods rather than foods targeted for a specific intervention.

Full Text

The full text is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-5-55

At A Glance

Individual Dietary Behavior Variables

Low-fat Dairy


Individual Dietary Behavior

Measure Type

24-hour dietary recall

Measure Availability

Download measure ( PDF )

Number of Items

Not applicable

Study location

several locations




Information about Development of Measure

Nothing to add

Study Design

Study Participants


12 - 18 Years







Black/African American


American Indian/Alaska Native

Multiethnic/racial population (no further detail)

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 on study sample

SES-related Variables


How To Use


Who Administered



How Administered


Time Required

Not reported

Training Required

Yes, time not reported

Instructions on Use

Not reported

Data Analysis

Data Collection/Analysis Costs

Not available

Data Collection/Protocol

A table reflecting which foods are included in each food group/subgroup is available. Learn more

Instructions on Data Analysis

Not reported

Validity (6)

Type of validity Construct/subscale assessed Criterion measure used Test/statistic used Result
Criterion HFI Total Fruits 24 hr Dietary Recall Spearman correlation (p value) 0.07, 0.17
Criterion HFI Total Meats 24 hr Dietary Recall Spearman correlation (p value) 0.03 (0.56)
Criterion HFI Energy (kcals) 24 hr Dietary Recall Spearman correlation (p value) 0.13, <0.05
Criterion HFI Total Dairy 24 hr Dietary Recall Spearman correlation (p value) 0.15, <0.01
Criterion HFI Total Vegetables Including Potatoes 24 hr Dietary Recall Spearman correlation (p value) 0.16, <0.01
Criterion HFI Total Vegetables Excluding Potatoes 24 hr Dietary Recall Spearman correlation (p value) 0.17, <0.01

Reliability (0)

There are no reliability tests reported for this measure.