Administering a combination of online dietary assessment tools, the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool, and Diet History Questionnaire II, in a cohort of adults in Alberta's Tomorrow Project

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2021 Jul;121(7):1312-1326. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2021.01.014. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Background: Evidence suggests that combining tools that gather short- and long-term dietary data may be the optimal approach for the assessment of diet-disease associations in epidemiologic studies. Online technology can reduce the associated burdens for researchers and participants, but feasibility must be demonstrated in real-world settings before wide-scale implementation.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of combining web-based tools (the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Assessment Tool [ASA24-2016] and the past-year Diet History Questionnaire II [DHQ-II]) in a subset of participants in Alberta's Tomorrow Project, a prospective cohort.

Design: For this feasibility study, invitations were mailed to 550 randomly selected individuals enrolled in Alberta's Tomorrow Project. Consented participants (n = 331) were asked to complete a brief sociodemographic and health questionnaire, four ASA24-2016 recalls, the DHQ-II, and an evaluation survey.

Participants/setting: The study was conducted from March 2016 to December 2016 in Alberta, Canada. The majority of participants, mean age (SD) = 57.4 (9.8) years, were women (70.7%), urban residents (85.5%), and nonsmokers (95.7%).

Main outcome measures: Primary outcomes were number of ASA24-2016 recalls completed, response rate of DHQ-II completion, and time to complete each assessment.

Statistical analyses: The Wilcoxon signed rank sum test was used to assess differences in completion time.

Results: One-third (n = 102) of consenting participants did not complete any ASA24-2016 recalls. The primary reason to withdraw from the feasibility study was a lack of time. Among consenting participants, 51.9% (n = 172), 41.1% (n = 136), and 36.5% (n = 121) completed at least two ASA24-2016 recalls, the DHQ-II, and at least two ASA24-2016 recalls plus the DHQ-II, respectively. Median (25th to 75th percentile) completion times for participants who completed all recalls were 39 minutes (25 to 53 minutes) for the first ASA24-2016 recall and 60 minutes (40 to 90 minutes) for the DHQ-II.

Conclusions: Findings indicate combining multiple ASA24-2016 recalls and the DHQ-II is feasible in this subset of Alberta's Tomorrow Project participants. However, optimal response rates may be contingent on providing participant support. Completion may also be sensitive to timing and frequency of recall administration.

Keywords: Alberta’s Tomorrow Project; Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Assessment Tool; Cohort; Diet History Questionnaire; Food frequency questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alberta
  • Community Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet / psychology
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Records*
  • Diet Surveys / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data*