A new computerized
interview process developed by the ARS Food Surveys Research Group prompts
nutritionist Alanna Moshfegh to ask survey respondents about "forgotten" foods.
The mounds help respondents estimate portion size. Click the image for
more information about it.
story to find out more.
Researchers Develop Improved Food
Consumption Survey Method By
Rosalie Marion Bliss
June 14, 2004
A new method to precisely capture food consumption data during
surveys has just been validated by Agricultural Research Service scientists.
Every day, health professionals, researchers and educators use
data from a series of nationally representative surveys to help them spot and
report key dietary patterns that affect consumers' health. Now ARS
nutritionists have developed and tested a new method for achieving nearly total
recall of what's been eaten. ARS is the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
After years of research and planning, the
ARS Food Surveys
Research Group (FSRG), part of the
Beltsville (Md.) Human Nutrition
Research Center, produced a recall instrument that helps people remember
and report the actual foods they ate over a 24-hour period, when surveyed.
Accurately assessing the American diet is critical because many chronic
diseases and health conditions are directly related to dietary intake,
according to nutritionist Alanna Moshfegh, who heads FSRG.
The computer-assisted interviewing instrument is called the
Automated Multiple-Pass Method, or AMPM for short. It consists of a specialized
software program that is operated by highly trained interviewers who conduct
the interview both in person and by telephone.
The 30-plus-member FSRG is in the process of analyzing results
from a human research study, involving more than 500 volunteers, to test the
accuracy of AMPM. Preliminary research findings based on data from 100 of the
volunteers showed the method to be highly accurate; it enabled the volunteers
to recall what they'd eaten to within 2 percent of the actual calories they
A critical innovation is the method's carefully crafted
questions, which are launched as a series of five passes. For example, one pass
defines and separates "eating occasions," and another pass ferrets out
about these findings in the June issue of