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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Interdepartmental Nutrition Program. Under the Supervision of Professor Nancy M. Lewis.
Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2008
Copyright (c) 2008 Karina R. Lora.


The purpose of this study was to assess the validity and reliability of a culturally appropriate food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to measure total omega-3 (n-3) fatty acid, ALA, EPA and DHA intakes of Midwestern Latinas. In addition, the study examined the association of age, socioeconomic status (SES) and acculturation with intake of n-3 fatty acids. The n-3 FFQ was developed from preliminary interviews, analyzed for content validity and pilot tested. The final instrument containing 209 items (15 culturally-specific dishes) was tested with 162 first-generation Latinas. One-on-one interviews in Spanish were conducted to validate the FFQ. In addition, women provided sociodemographic information, and completed an acculturation questionnaire. The validity and reliability of the FFQ was assessed by Pearson correlation coefficient and Bland-Altman plots were constructed to assess agreement between the two methods and to increase the robustness of the validation. Correlation and regression analysis were conducted to test the association of age, SES and acculturation with n-3 fatty acid intakes. Mean daily intakes (±SD) of Total n-3, ALA, EPA and DHA (g) estimated by the mean of the two FFQs were 1.2±0.7, 1.1±0.6, 0.1±0.8, 0.1±0.1 respectively. Reliability of the n-3FFQ was 0.71 for Total n-3, 0.65 for ALA, 0.74 for EPA, 0.54 for DHA (P< 0.01). Validity correlation coefficients were 0.42 for Total n-3, 0.44 for ALA, 0.27 for EPA, and 0.24 for DHA (P< 0.05). Participant’s age was negatively correlated with intakes of Total n-3 and ALA. Education, income and acculturation were positively correlated with intakes of EPA+DHA (P<0.05). Participant’s age was related to intake of Total n-3 and ALA after accounting for variation in education, income and acculturation. Income was related to intake of EPA+DHA when the other variables were taken into account (P<0.05). Findings from the present study suggest that the n-3 FFQ had acceptable reliability and adequate validity for the type of nutrients studied and may perform better to assess Total n-3 and ALA than to assess LC n-3 PUFA intakes in the study population. Advisor: Nancy M. Lewis

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