Gladys Block

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gladys Block is a nutrition researcher who worked at the National Cancer Institute.

Education and career[edit]

From July 1991 onward, Block worked at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor (and subsequently professor emerita) of Community Health and Human Development in the School of Public Health.[1][2]

In 1993 she founded NutritionQuest which produces assessments of diet and physical activity for researchers.[3]

Block FFQ[edit]

During her time at the National Cancer Institute (1982 to 1991), Block developed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that would later come to be known as the Block FFQ.[4] The approach to questionnaire design was first described in a paper co-authored with Hartman, Dresser, Carroll, Gannon, and Gardner in 1986.[5] Research by Block, Potosky, and Clifford on validation of the questionnaire was published in 1990.[6]

After leaving the National Cancer Institute in 1991, Block continued to work on the FFQ, offering it through the company, NutritionQuest, that she founded in 1993. Subsequent released versions include the Block 95 and Block 98 FFQs. A web version was also released and validated.[7]

The Block FFQ has been used in third-party research[8] and has also been the subject of validation and comparison studies.[9][10][11]

The Block FFQ is the earliest of the currently widely used FFQs in the United States. Other semi-quantitative FFQs include the Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ) and NHANES (also developed at the National Cancer Institute) and the Harvard FFQ, developed by a team at Harvard University led by Walter Willett.[4][12]



In 1992, Block's review of 15 epidemiological studies on cancer rates and intake of Vitamin C was mentioned in the New York Times.[13]

Block has been cited in media coverage of the debate around the efficacy of dietary multivitamin supplements in combating health risks including the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Others taking a similar position as Block (in favor of dietary supplements) include Harvard professor Walter Willett (designer of the Harvard FFQ), researcher Bruce N. Ames, and Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Those on the other side include Marion Nestle, Joan Gussow, Catherine Wotecki, Walter Mertz, and Edgar Miller.[14][15][16]

Variety in diet[edit]

Block has led research on the variety in people's diet and its effects on people's nutrient consumption and health status.[17] She has been cited on the subject in the New York Times.[18]


Block has developed a program called ALIVE that people can use to improve their diet and physical activity.[19][20] The program and its spinoff, ALIVE-PD (to help prediabetics prevent diabetes) are currently offered through Turnaround Health, a division of NutritionQuest.[21][22]


  1. ^ "Gladys Block PhD". School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "Gladys Blcock: Expert Profile". Center for Health Journalism. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "NutritionQuest: Company". NutritionQuest. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Food Frequency Questionnaires" (PDF). University of Colorado Denver. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Block, Gladys; Hartman, AM; Dresser, CM; Carroll, MD; Gannon, J; Gardner, L (1986). "A data-based approach to diet questionnaire design and testing". American Journal of Epidemiology. 124 (3): 453–469. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a114416. PMID 3740045.
  6. ^ Block, Gladys; Wood, M; Potosky, A; Clifford, C (1990). "Validation of a self-administered diet history questionnaire using multiple diet records". Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 43 (12): 1327–1335. doi:10.1016/0895-4356(90)90099-B. PMID 2254769.
  7. ^ "Our Research: Questionnaires". NutritionQuest. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Mares-Perlman, JA; Klein, BEK; Klein, R; Ritter, LL; Fisher, MR; Freudenheim, JL (1993). "A diet history questionnaire ranks nutrient intakes in middle-aged and older men and women similarly to multiple food records". Journal of Nutrition. 123 (3): 489–501. doi:10.1093/jn/123.3.489. PMID 8463852.
  9. ^ Subar, Amy; Thompson, Frances; Kipnis, Victor; Midthune, Douglas; Hurwitz, Paul; McNutt, Suzanne; McIntosh, Anna; Rosenfeld, Simon (2001). "Comparative Validation of the Block, Willett, and National Cancer Institute Food Frequency Questionnaires: The Eating at America's Table Study". American Journal of Epidemiology. 154 (12): 1089–1099. doi:10.1093/aje/154.12.1089. PMID 11744511.
  10. ^ Boucher, B; Cotterchio, M; Krieger, N; Nadalin, V; Block, Torin; Block, Gladys (2006). "Validity and reliability of the Block98 food-frequency questionnaire in a sample of Canadian women". Public Health Nutrition. 9 (1): 84–93. doi:10.1079/phn2005763. PMID 16480538.
  11. ^ Johnson, BA; Herring, AH; Ibrahim, JG; Siega-Riz, Am (2007). "Structured measurement error in nutritional epidemiology; applications in the Pregnancy, Infection and Nutrition (PIN) Study". Journal of the American Statistical Association. 102 (479): 856–866. doi:10.1198/016214506000000771. PMC 2440718. PMID 18584067.
  12. ^ "Register of validated short dietary instruments (restricted to FFQs)". National Cancer Institute.
  13. ^ "Vitamins Win Support as Potent Agents of Health". New York Times. March 10, 1992. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  14. ^ Burros, Marian (April 14, 1993). "Eating Well". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "Eating Well". New York Times. April 20, 1994. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  16. ^ Kounang, Nadia (December 17, 2013). "Are multivitamins a waste of money? Editorial in medical journal says yes". CNN. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  17. ^ Kant, AK; Schatzkin, A; Harris, TB; Ziegler, RG; Block, Gladys (March 1, 1993). "Dietary diversity and subsequent mortality in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 57 (3): 434–440. doi:10.1093/ajcn/57.3.434. PMID 8382446.
  18. ^ Hall, Trish (April 1, 1992). "Same Old Dinner, Same Old Lunch: Most People Like It That Way". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  19. ^ Block, Gladys. "About Me". MedicineX, Stanford University.
  20. ^ Sternfeld, B.; Block, C.; Quesenberry Jr, C. P.; Block, T. J.; Husson, G.; Norris, J. C.; Nelson, M.; Block, G. (2009). "Improving Diet and Physical Activity with ALIVE. A Worksite Randomized Trial". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 36 (6): 475–483. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.01.036. PMID 19460655.
  21. ^ "About the Program". Turnaround Health. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "ALIVE! NutritionQuest" (PDF). National Institutes of Health, as part of the Commercialization Assistance Program, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Retrieved October 26, 2016.