ASA24-Kids-2014 and ASA24-Kids-2012

ASA24-Kids-2014 was released in February 2014 and researchers can still register new studies in this version of the ASA24® system. A mobile accessible version is in development and is expected to be open to new studies later in 2016.

ASA24-Kids-2012 was released in September 2012. The 2012 version is no longer available for new studies; however, this version is still available for previously registered studies to collect data until March 2017. Researchers using ASA24-Kids-2014 and ASA24-Kids-2012 will need to transition to ASA24-Kids-2016 by March 2017 if data collection for a study will continue beyond this date.

Adapting the ASA24 System for Use with Children

Working in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Westat (the social science research firm that developed and maintains ASA24), Dr. Tom Baranowski of the Baylor College of Medicine led the effort to adapt the ASA24 Respondent Website for use with children aged 10 years and older. Dr. Baranowski built upon his earlier experience collecting intake data from children using the Food Intake Recording Software System (FIRSSt), a self-administered 24-hour recall system primarily designed to assess fruit and vegetable intake among children. Compared to FIRSSt, ASA24-Kids collects data on all foods and drinks consumed the previous day using the interface developed for the ASA24 system.

The ASA24-Kids versions maintain the look and feel as well as the methodology and features of ASA24-versions for adults, including the administration of multiple passes, the use of images to aid in portion size estimation, and the inclusion of optional modules to query location of meals, whether meals were eaten alone or with others, television and computer use during meals, and supplement intakes.

The potential for the ASA24 system to be used with a broad range of Respondents, including children, was considered throughout the development of the software. Features that make the tool amenable to use with children include an animated penguin avatar to guide and maintain Respondents' interest and the inclusion of common misspellings in the database to minimize problems with finding foods. There is no Canadian version for children.

A number of modifications have been incorporated to make ASA24-Kids more appropriate for use with children:

  • Removal of food and drink terms that are not reported by children aged 8-15 years in national dietary surveillance (45% of food and drink terms were deleted);
  • Removal of drink terms referring to alcoholic beverages and removal of alcoholic beverages from the list of foods and drinks probed in the Forgotten Foods pass of the recall (alcoholic beverages were removed due to potential sensitivities related to the reporting of underage drinking; a future version of ASA24-Kids may allow Researchers to choose whether or not to include alcoholic beverages);
  • Simplified wording of food and beverage items (e.g., 'carbonated water' changed to 'bubbly water');
  • Removal of detailed probe questions based on experience indicating that most children will be unable to respond (e.g., for French fries: Were they from fresh potatoes or from frozen?; What kind of fat or oil was used?; Were they baked or fried?) (46% of probes were deleted); and
  • The addition of school to the response options for meal location.

An examination of the impact of modifications of this nature using the Beta version of the ASA24 system suggested that the alterations did not lead to significantly different mean estimates of selected nutrients or food groups among children.

Refer to the publications section for a list of articles with a more detailed description of the adaptation of the ASA24 system for use with children.

Use of ASA24-Kids-2014 with Different Age Groups

  • ASA24-Kids is currently recommended for use with children 10 years of age and older.
  • It is possible to use ASA24-Kids to collect dietary intake for younger children using a proxy reporter, such as a parent or guardian. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which conducts interviewer-administered dietary recalls, uses a proxy RespondentExternal Web Site Policy for children 5 years of age and younger and has a parent or guardian assist with recalls for children 6 to 11 years of age. If relying on proxy reporting, Researchers may consider using the full adult version of the ASA24 system (ASA24-2016) rather than ASA24-Kids-2014. ASA24-2014 includes more detailed questions that are excluded from ASA24-2014-Kids because of the expectation that children will not be able to respond accurately (refer to Adapting the ASA24 System for Use with Children above).
  • Formative unpublished research conducted in the early stages of the adaptation of the ASA24 system for children used the Beta version of the ASA24 system. This work suggested that 8- and 9- year-olds lack the cognitive abilities necessary to complete a self-administered web-based recall. However, given the modifications made to adapt the tool for children and the fact that a significant number of usability issues that affected the Beta version have since been addressed, further evaluation is needed to determine whether children younger than 10 years of age can complete a recall using ASA24-Kids.
  • The age at which older teens have the ability to complete recalls using the ASA24 system as opposed to ASA24-Kids has not yet been evaluated. NHANES conducts unassisted recalls on those aged 12 years and above. ASA24-Kids does not include alcohol, which may be a consideration in determining which version of the ASA24 system to use with studies including older children and adolescents.

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