Assessing the human intake of heterocyclic amines: limited loss of information using reduced sets of questions.


The aim of this study was to evaluate loss of information from a reduced food frequency questionnaire as compared with an extensive reference method developed to assess the intake of heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Food frequency data were linked to concentrations of HCAs in cooked foods to estimate the individual daily exposure to a combination of five HCAs. The number of food items in the questionnaire was reduced and selected in three ways: (a) according to the contribution to the estimated total intake; (b) the between-person variance; or (c) dishes included in other studies. The effect on sensitivity, specificity, concordance, the correlation coefficient, kappa, and simulated relative risks was determined using information from a population-based study conducted in Stockholm. Only a limited amount of misclassification was introduced when the number of dishes was reduced from 39 to 15 or 20, and no major difference was seen when dishes were selected according to the total intake or the between-person variance. Our data indicate that for a specific exposure, such as HCAs, the loss of accuracy in an analytical epidemiological study is small and may not be relevant when the number of dishes in a food frequency questionnaire is decreased, if the initially chosen dishes are carefully selected and cover a reasonable part of the total intake or between-person variance.

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@article{Voskuil1999AssessingTH, title={Assessing the human intake of heterocyclic amines: limited loss of information using reduced sets of questions.}, author={Dorien W. Voskuil and Katarina Augustsson and Paul W. Dickman and Pieter van't Veer and Gunnar Steineck}, journal={Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology}, year={1999}, volume={8 9}, pages={809-14} }