The validation of a home food inventory

Jayne A. Fulkerson, Melissa C. Nelson, Leslie Lytle, Stacey Moe, Carrie Heitzler, Keryn E. Pasch

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134 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
StatePublished - Nov 4 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Anne Samuelson who coordinated and collected data; and Jeanna Rex, Rachel Cope, and Dawn Nelson who collected data. We would also like to thank the parents and students in the study for their time and willingness to share their personal lifestyles. The study was funded as part of the IDEA study (PI: Leslie Lytle, PhD) funded by NCI's Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer Initiative (NCI Grant 1 U54 CA116849-01, Examining the Obesity Epidemic Through Youth, Family, and Young Adults, PI: Robert Jeffery, PhD).


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