Dietary Behaviour in Children, Adolescents and Families: The Eating Habits Questionnaire (EHQ)
The Eating Habits Questionnaire (EHQ) was used in the IDEFICS and I.Family studies to investigate dietary behaviour, family food environments and the frequency of consumption of food items likely to be associated with overweight and general health in children, teenagers and adults. This chapter describes the rationale for developing the EHQ, as well as its methodological basis and structure. The children’s version (Children’s Eating Habits Questionnaire, CEHQ) is completed by a proxy reporter (usually a parent), on behalf of a child aged 2–11 years. The teenager’s version (Teenagers’ Eating Habits Questionnaire, TEHQ) is a self-reporting instrument for persons between 12 and 18 years. The adult version (Adult’s Eating Habits Questionnaire, AEHQ) is a self-reporting instrument for respondents of 19 years and over. Most of the questions and the overall structure are closely similar in the three versions. The novelty of the EHQ is that it is a brief instrument assessing simultaneously a few dimensions of eating habits of children, teenagers and adults from the perspective of obesity-related food patterns. The EHQ has been tested and validated in eight culturally diverse European populations that participated in the IDEFICS and I.Family studies. It is expected to be useful in future studies concerned with obesity in children and their families.
The development of instruments, the baseline data collection and the first follow-up work as part of the IDEFICS study (www.idefics.eu) were financially supported by the European Commission within the Sixth RTD Framework Programme Contract No. 016181 (FOOD). The most recent follow-up including the development of new instruments and the adaptation of previously used instruments was conducted in the framework of the I.Family study (www.ifamilystudy.eu) which was funded by the European Commission within the Seventh RTD Framework Programme Contract No. 266044 (KBBE 2010–14).
We thank all families for participating in the extensive examinations of the IDEFICS and I.Family studies. We are also grateful for the support from school boards, headmasters and communities.
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