ASA24-Kids-2014 was released in February 2014 and until March 2017, researchers can register new studies in this version of the ASA24® system. Funding is not currently available for a mobile accessible version for kids, such as ASA24-2016. We suggest that new studies with young participants consider using ASA24-2016. However, adaptations to the food list and questions specific to children that were included in the ASA24-Kids versions, described below, are not included in ASA24-2016.
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 ASA24-2016 by March 2017 if data collection for a study will continue beyond this date. There is no Canadian version for children.
Adapting the ASA24 System for Use with Children
Working in collaboration with NCI and Westat (the social science research firm that developed and maintains the ASA24 system), 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 pre-2016 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 ASA24-Kids 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.
A number of modifications were 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; if funding is obtained for a future version of ASA24-Kids, a new version 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 are 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. Thus, though usability may have been improved for children in the Kids versions, nutrient data obtained was not significantly changed. Given this information and the lack of funding to update to a mobile version for Kids, it is recommended that researchers planning a study involving children utilize ASA24-2016 to collect food records or recalls.
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.
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