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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340189

Research Project: Nutritional Epidemiology

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Web-based recruitment and survey methodology to capture followers of popular diets: the adhering to dietary approaches for personal taste (ADAPT) feasibility survey

Author
item KARLSEN, MICAELA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item LICHTENSTEIN, ALICE - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item ECONOMOS, CHRISTINA - Tufts University
item FOLTA, SARA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item ROGERS, GAIL - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item JACQUES, PAUL - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item LIVINGSTON, KARA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item RANCANO, KATHERINE - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item MCKEOWN, NICOLA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Citation: Karlsen, M.V., Lichtenstein, A.H., Economos, C.D., Folta, S.C., Rogers, G., Jacques, P.F., Livingston, K.A., Rancano, K., Mckeown, N.M. 2017. Web-based recruitment and survey methodology to capture followers of popular diets: the adhering to dietary approaches for personal taste (ADAPT) feasibility survey [abstract]. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference. 31(1):788.13.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Background: Although there is interest in popular diets such as vegan/vegetarian, Paleo, and other whole food diets, existing cohort studies lack specific data for these subgroups. With the evolution of new technologies, such as electronic data capture and web-based surveys, their application to nutrition research has increased. We examined the feasibility of using these methods to identify and characterize followers of popular diets. Objective: To perform a Feasibility Survey (FS) to assess the practicality of using web-based research methods to gather data among followers of popular diets. Methods: The FS was an open, voluntary, 15-minute survey conducted over 8 weeks in summer, 2015. Recruitment targeted self-identified followers of popular diets and captured a range of dietary patterns with wide variation in macronutrient intake. Participants were recruited from a convenience sample offering no incentives via social media (Facebook & Twitter) and e-newsletters shared by recruitment partners who were considered leaders/experts (such as book authors) in their respective diet communities. Feasibility was assessed by number of responses, survey completion rate, distribution of diets, geographic location, and willingness to participate in future research. Results: 14,003 surveys were started; 13,787 individuals (unique email addresses) consented, 9,726 completed (71% of consented), and among completers, 9,536 provided non-missing data for current diet, gender, age, race, and ethnicity. Not captured were unique site visitors, view rate, or participation rate. Of these, 83% were female, 93% were white, and 84% completed the survey in the US. Age distribution was 18-34yrs (22%), 35-54yrs (46%), and >/=55yrs (33%). Diet designations were collapsed into the following groups based on frequency: whole food plant-based (25%); vegan & raw vegan (19%); Paleo (14%); try to eat healthy (11%); vegetarian & pescatarian (9%); whole food (8%); Weston A. Price (5%); and low-carb (4%). The remaining 5% of participants reported a variety of different diets (e.g., medical/avoidance, weight loss) or no particular diet. Willingness to participate in future research and complete online questionnaires was 86%; complete a diet recall 93%; complete a food diary 75%; provide fingerstick blood sample 60%; provide a venipuncture blood sample 44%; provide a urine sample 58%; and provide a stool sample 42%. Overall willingness to be contacted in the future was 87%. Conclusion: This survey suggests that it is feasible to recruit followers of popular diets using web-based methods. Recruitment strategies were most successful in attracting followers of whole food plant-based, vegan & raw vegan, and Paleo diets. Recruitment strategies need to be refined to capture a broader demographic of study subjects, however the unbalanced sample with respect to gender and race/ethnicity could be corrected with the use of targeted online marketing strategies such as GoogleAds or Facebook ads to better represent the overall US population.