Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 31, Supplement 1, pp 207–220 | Cite as

An effective dietary survey framework for the assessment of total dietary arsenic intake in Bangladesh: Part-A—FFQ design

  • Nasreen Islam Khan
  • Gary Owens
  • David Bruce
  • Ravi Naidu
Original Paper


The accurate assessment of dietary intake patterns is important for the determination of total dietary arsenic (As) exposure in As-contaminated regions of Bangladesh. Food intake questionnaires are a common means of assessing food intake. A food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was designed to assess the daily intake of frequently consumed food items and was successfully implemented to assess dietary patterns and intake of the rural populations in 18 villages from three Districts of Bangladesh (Comilla, Manikganj Sadar, and Munshiganj). The FFQ presented in this paper comprises a complete set of tools which allowed not only collection of information on dietary patterns but also information on the spatial characteristics of the landscape, socio-demographic indicators, and geographic locations of the identified environmental media of the contaminants, which resulted in As exposure to humans. The FFQ was designed in three sections: (1) general household information, (2) household water and rice information, and (3) individual dietary intake of other foods. The dietary intake of other food was then further subdivided into five different food subgroups: (i) grain intake, (ii) protein intake, (iii) fruit intake (iv), vegetable intake, and (v) dal (pulse) intake. During the design and development of the FFQ, emphasis was given to the source of food, the frequency (day/week/month) of consumption, and the daily amount of food consumed by each adult male, adult female, and child to accurately determine the dietary pattern and intake of arsenic in the rural population of Bangladesh.


Food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) Dietary intake Dietary pattern Bangladesh Arsenic 



The authors extend their thanks to DCH for their support and assistance during field surveys and for supplying laboratory facilities for sample pre-processing. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided for this project by AusAID. The Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR), and the University of South Australia provided financial support and the University of Dhaka provided study leave for Nasreen Islam Khan while she pursued her PhD studies.


  1. Alam, M. G. M., Snow, E. T., & Tanaka, A. (2003). Arsenic and heavy metal contamination of vegetables grown in Samta village, Bangladesh. Science of the Total Environment, 308, 83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al Rmalli, S. W., Haris, P. I., Harrington, C. F., & Ayub, M. (2005). A survey of arsenic in foodstuffs on sale in the United Kingdom and imported from Bangladesh. Science of the Total Environment, 337(1–3), 23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bae, M., Wantanabe, C., Inaoka, T., Sekiyama, M., Sudo, N., Bokul, M. H., et al. (2002). Arsenic in cooked rice in Bangladesh. The LANCET, 360(9348), 1839–1840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BGS. (1999). Groundwater studies for arsenic contamination in Bangladesh (Final Report). British Geological Survey and Mott MacDonald Ltd (UK).Google Scholar
  5. Chen, Y., Ahsan, H., Parvez, F., & Howe, G. R. (2004). Validity of a food-frequency questionnaire for a large prospective cohort study in Bangladesh. British Journal of Nutrition, 92, 851–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chowdhury, U. K., Rahman, M. M., Mondal, B. K., Paul, K., Lodh, D., Biswas, B. K., et al. (2001). Groundwater arsenic contamination and human suffering in West Bengal, India and Bangladesh. Environmental Sciences, 8(5), 393–415.Google Scholar
  7. Duxbury, J. M., Mayer, A. B., Lauren, J. G., & Hassan, N. (2003). Food chain aspects of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh: Effects on quality and productivity of rice. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, A38(1), 61–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Huq, S. I., Correll, R., & Naidu, R. (2006). Arsenic accumulation in food sources in Bangladesh. In R. Naidu, E. Smith, G. Owens, P. Bhattacharya, & P. Nadebaum (Eds.), Managing arsenic in the environment: From soil to human health (pp. 283–293). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Khan, N. I., Bruce, D., Naidu, R., & Owens, G. (2009). Implementation of food frequency questionnaire for the assessment of total dietary arsenic intake in Bangladesh: Part-B—Preliminary findings. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. doi: 10.1007/s10653-008-9232-3.Google Scholar
  10. Meharg, A. A., & Rahman, M. M. (2003). Arsenic contamination of Bangladesh paddy field soils: Implications for rice contribution to arsenic consumption. Environmental Science Technology, 37(2), 229–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Miller, R., Correll, R., Dillon, P., & Kookana, R. (2002). ASRRI: A predictive index of contaminant attenuation during aquifer storage and recovery. In P. Dillon (Ed.), Management of aquifer recharge for sustainability (pp. 69–76). Balkema Publishers: Australia.Google Scholar
  12. Naidu, R., Huq, I., Smith, E., Correll, R., Smith, L., Smith, J., et al. (2002). Assessing potential arsenic exposure pathways in Bangladesh. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Arsenic Exposure and Health Effects, San Diego, California, USA.Google Scholar
  13. Owens G., Rahman M. M., Heinrich T. & Naidu R. (2004). Bangladesh-Australia Centre for Arsenic Mitigation Program (BACAMP): Program 3: Safe food, Section 1: Arsenic food chain assessment, University of South Australia, Consultancy report for GHD Pty Ltd.Google Scholar
  14. Roychowdhury, T., Uchino, T., Tokunaga, H., & Ando, M. (2002). Survey of arsenic in food composites from as arsenic-affected area of West Bengal, India. Food Chemical Toxicology, 40, 1611–1621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nasreen Islam Khan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gary Owens
    • 1
  • David Bruce
    • 3
  • Ravi Naidu
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR)University of South AustraliaMawson LakesAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Geography and EnvironmentDhaka UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.The Barbara Hardy Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments, School of Natural and Built EnvironmentsUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations