The 24-hour Food Frequency Assessment Screening Tool (FAST24): Development and Evaluation of a Novel Dietary Screener to Identify Foods Associated with Weight Change

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Background & aims

Brief screening questionnaires can identify ‘at risk’ behaviors in clinical settings. However, there is currently no screener for dietary intake specifically developed using foods associated with body weight change and increased risk for multiple chronic conditions and diseases.


We developed a novel brief dietary screener, the 24-Hour Food Frequency Assessment Screening Tool Questionnaire (FAST24), to identify intake of foods associated with weight change. University students completed the FAST24 and the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool (ASA24) at two time points to assess acceptability and determine preliminary criterion validity against food categories from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED).


202 individuals (age 20.4 ± 3.6 years; 65.7% females) completed the FAST24 in an average time of 2 min compared to 24 min for the ASA24. Over half of the food items from the FAST24 were matched to, and correlated with, standard USDA food pattern components (r's ranging from .15 to .58, p's < .05). Food items from the dietary data from the FAST24 were also highly correlated with the more intensive ASA24 application (r's ranging from .23 to .82, p's < .01), and were less time-consuming and burdensome to complete (p's < .0001).


Findings support the continued refinement of the FAST24 as a rapid, valid primary care assessment tool for measuring USDA dietary intake patterns. Use of a short, simple screener such as the FAST24 has the potential for integration into large healthcare delivery settings to help establish a baseline for promoting relative behavior changes critical for long-term health and well-being.