What are the changes in DQES v3.2?

We've added questions about household oil use and the number of people in the household, which can be used to estimate a per-head intake of different types of oil.

Questions regarding overall consumption of fruit and vegetables have been retained and are used to scale the responses for individual fruits and vegetables. We believe it is easier for people to estimate overall amounts than individual items, which tends to result in the sum of individual items being larger than the reported overall intake.

Milk and bread questions have been retained with additional types included. In these questions people can select more than one type and the total amount consumed will be equally divided across the different types.

The question about type of fat spread used on bread has been split to first identify butter, dairy blend, margarine or olive oil, with a second question to identify type of margarine, including sterol/cholesterol-lowering.

Questions regarding eggs have been retained.

Cheese is incorporated into the main food list but with less detail as the composition does not vary very much between cheese types other than ricotta or cottage and others.

Six different items are included in the portion size pictures and the results from these questions are used as before to scale standard portions for each item up or down.

Questions on intake of regular and diet soft drinks, sugar and water have been added.

A more detailed question on breakfast cereal types has been included and data on frequency of consumption for ready-to-eat cereals and porridge is collected for winter (3 months) and the rest of the year (9 months) separately. An overall amount of cereal and porridge is calculated as the weighted average over winter and the rest of the year and then equally divided across all cereal types selected.

For the main food list, items have been grouped differently and some items have been removed while others, including a wider variety of fruit and vegetables, have been added as outlined below in Table 1.

Table 1



Hamburger with a bun


Oil, mayonnaise and other fats on salads and vegetables

Veal combined with beef

Other seafood

Bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts


Seasonal fruit section: apricots, berries (not strawberries), cherries, figs, plums, mangoes, grapes, peaches or nectarines. 

The intakes of these are calculated as a yearly average based on defined seasons.




Iceberg lettuce split from other salad greens and Asian greens added


Sweet Potato


Questions on tea, coffee, herbal tea and coffee substitutes added.

Questions regarding intake of alcoholic beverages have been expanded so it is possible to better interpret the responses. The initial screening question asks about alcoholic beverage consumption over the last 12 months. If the response is ‘Never’ the questionnaire is complete. Drinkers are also asked whether they have consumed 6 or more drinks on a single day as a measure of binge drinking (this level has been estimated to raise blood alcohol content above 0.5% or 0.05). The data from this question is not used in calculations of alcohol intake. A section for beer drinkers follows, where people are asked to choose one of three different units with which to record beer consumption. These were selected based on other data we had collected in a large Australian study. We also ask what proportion of beer was low-alcohol or regular strength. We know there are more brands now with higher alcohol contents but it was not practical to collect more detailed information on the brands and alcohol contents.

Information on wine intake iscollected in the same way but only a single serving unit is used. A question on the proportion of total wine that was red or white is also included.

Questions on intake of spirits follow a similar model and can be recorded as straight spirits or pre-mixed drinks.

For all questions regarding consumption of alcoholic beverages, the largest frequencies or number of units were listed first, following the NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Recommended Alcohol Questions guide


In addition to updating the questions, we have updated the nutrient data used in our calculations to include NUTTAB 2010 and AUSNUT 2007.