Evaluation & Validation

ASA24 is based upon the USDA Automated Multiple-Pass Method (AMPM)External Web Site Policy, which has been validated and shown to accurately estimate mean total energy and protein intakes compared to recovery biomarkers (Kipnis et al, 2003External Web Site Policy; Moshfegh et al, 2008External Web Site Policy).

The ASA24 development team conducted numerous small-scale cognitive and usability tests on the Beta, ASA24-2011, and ASA24-2014 Respondent Web sites. Preliminary examination of output from recalls completed using ASA24 suggested acceptable face validity (i.e., calorie, nutrient, and food group estimates that are consistent with data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). Data from recent validation and evaluation studies, not yet published, indicate very close agreement between ASA24 and standardized interviewer-administered 24-hour recalls.


To formally evaluate the impact of the change in mode of administration from the interviewer-administered AMPM 24-hour recall to a self-administered web-based recall, two studies were conducted using ASA24-2011:

  • One large study of healthy individuals in a variety of geographic regions compared the nutrient, food group, and supplement intake estimates from respondents completing ASA24 to those completing a standardized AMPM interviewer-administered recall. The manuscript assessing food group and nutrient intakes from foods and beverages has been accepted for publication. Findings indicate comparability between ASA24 and AMPM in reported intakes and response rates, and that respondents prefer ASA24 over AMPM. Citation:
    • Thompson FE, Dixit-Joshi S, Potischman N, Dodd KW, Kirkpatrick SI, Kushi LH, Alexander GL, Coleman LA, Zimmerman TP, Sundaram ME, Clancy HA, Groesbeck M, Douglass D, George SM, Schap TE, Subar AF. Comparison of interviewer-administered and automated self-administered 24-hour dietary recalls (ASA24) in three diverse integrated health systems. Am J Epidemiol, in press.
    Two other manuscripts from this large study have been submitted, one that assesses comparability of reported dietary supplement usage between AMPM and ASA24, and another that assesses the impact of default coding of free text options in ASA24.
  • In a second smaller study, citation below, investigators unobtrusively documented food intakes of participants randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group completed a recall using ASA24 and the second group completed a standardized AMPM interviewer-administered recall. Analyses considered how each of these recalls performed relative to true intake. The AMPM performed slightly better than the ASA24 relative to true intake for matches (the proportion of items consumed that were reported), exclusions (foods consumed but not reported), and intrusions (food reported but not consumed). There was little evidence of differences between the AMPM and the ASA24 in true and reported energy, nutrient, and food group intakes or portion sizes. Overall, the ASA24 performed well and is comparable to the AMPM as an instrument for collecting dietary intake data from large samples.

In addition, ASA24-2011 is being evaluated within the Multi-Cohort Eating and Activity Study for Understanding Reporting Error (MEASURE), which is designed to assess the structure of measurement error in self-report diet and physical activity instruments in multiple large cohorts. Data collection for MEASURE, which includes sub-studies in three cohorts (the Harvard Nurses' Health Study, the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, and the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study), began in late 2010. The Nurses' Health study used the Beta version of ASA24; the other two cohorts used ASA24-2011. Data collection has finished for all three studies, and results are expected in late 2014 or early 2015.

Because the methods by which data are collected in ASA24-2014 and ASA24-2011 are nearly identical, no formal evaluation or validation efforts are planned by NCI for ASA24-2014. Changes between ASA24-2011 and ASA24-2014 were intended to improve the usability of the search and editing functions in addition to adding some new features. NCI has no reason to believe that the validation findings from the studies of ASA24-2011 will be any different for ASA24-2014. Collaboration with researchers who are interested in evaluating ASA24-2014 as part of their research is welcome. Please contact Amy Subar for further information.


Formative research was conducted in the early stages of the adaptation of ASA24 for children. However, ASA24-Kids-2014 and ASA24-Kids-2012 have not yet been formally evaluated. Collaboration with researchers who are interested in evaluating ASA24-Kids-2014 as part of their research is welcome. Please contact Amy Subar for further information.

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