Crawford PB, Obarzanek E, Morrison J, Sabry ZI. Comparative advantage of 3-day food records over 24-hour recall and 5-day food frequency validated by observation of 9- and 10-year-old girls. J Am Diet Assoc 1994 Jun;94(6):626-30.


OBJECTIVE: The validity of the 24-hour recall, 3-day food record, and 5-day food frequency was assessed to decide on a dietary assessment method for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Growth and Health Study. DESIGN: All subjects were assigned to one of three dietary assessment methods. Unobtrusive observers recorded types and amounts of foods eaten during lunch, and these were compared with the foods reported by the girls in the study. SETTING: School lunchrooms in California and Ohio. SUBJECTS: 58 girls, aged 9 and 10 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Reporting errors for dietary assessment methods. STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Descriptive statistics, matched pair t tests, and Spearman correlation coefficients. RESULTS: Comparison of the intakes of energy and selected macronutrients showed different ranges of, and median percentage absolute errors for, each dietary assessment method. Percentage absolute errors ranged between 20 and 33 for the 5-day food frequency method; 19 and 39 for the 24-hour recall; and 12 and 22 for the 3-day food record. The proportion of missing foods (ie, observed food items not reported) and phantom foods (ie, reported food items not observed) by each method were 46% and 40%, respectively, for the 5-day food frequency; 30% and 33%, respectively, for the 24-hour recall; and 25% and 10%, respectively, for the 3-day food record. APPLICATIONS/CONCLUSIONS: Errors in food reporting and quantification can vary with the type of dietary methodology. Agreement between observed and reported intakes from 3-day food records made it the best overall choice. On this basis, it was selected as the method of assessment for the NHLBI Growth and Health Study.

Full Text

The full text is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0002-8223(94)90158-9

At A Glance

Individual Dietary Behavior Variables

Total Energy/Energy Density
Macronutrients, including Saturated Fat


Individual Dietary Behavior

Measure Type

24-hour dietary recall

Measure Availability

Not reported

Number of Items

Not applicable

Study location



Inner-city San Francisco Bay area and Cincinatti suburb



Information about Development of Measure

Nothing to add

Study Design

Study Participants


6 - 11 Years





Black/African American

Predominantly Low-income/Low-SES

Not reported

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

Qualitative description

Data Reported on SES

Not applicable

SES-related Variables

Not applicable

How To Use


Who Administered


How Administered


Time Required

Not reported

Training Required

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 (9)

Type of validity Construct/subscale assessed Criterion measure used Test/statistic used Result
Criterion Carbohydrate Observed lunch intake Spearman Correlation Coefficients 0.46
Criterion Fat Observed lunch intake Spearman Correlation Coefficients 0.57
Criterion Energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol Observed lunch intake Median percentage absolute error (PAE) Range: 19-39%
Criterion Energy Observed lunch intake Spearman Correlation Coefficients 0.57
Criterion Protein Observed lunch intake Spearman Correlation Coefficients 0.61
Criterion Cholesterol Observed lunch intake Spearman Correlation Coefficients 0.74
Criterion Phantom foods Observed lunch intake Median percentage of reported foods not observed 33
Criterion Missing foods Observed lunch intake Median percentage of observed foods not reported 30
Criterion Saturated fat Observed lunch intake Spearman Correlation Coefficients 0.79

Reliability (0)

There are no reliability tests reported for this measure.