Medindia

X

Smartphone Apps can Help Consistent Monitoring of a Personís Diet

by Kathy Jones on  September 11, 2014 at 9:07 PM News on IT in Healthcare   - G J E 4
Researchers at Arizona State University have found that smartphone apps can prove to be a useful and consistent tool in monitoring one's diet, though not the dietary quality, a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reveals.
 Smartphone Apps can Help Consistent Monitoring of a Personís Diet
Smartphone Apps can Help Consistent Monitoring of a Personís Diet
Advertisement

Researchers Christopher Wharton, Carol Johnston, Barbara Cunningham and Danielle Sterner at ASU's School of Nutrition and Health Promotion authored the study.

Advertisement
The study compared the effectiveness of a popular smartphone application called "Lose It" for dietary self-monitoring and quality to methods such as entering dietary data on the memo feature on a smartphone and traditional paper and pencil entry during an eight-week weight-loss trial. Forty-seven participants were semi-randomly assigned to the three groups.

The use of smartphones has transformed life as we once knew it. According to the Pew Internet Project, more than half of American adults own a smartphone and almost a third of them "can't imagine living" without the device. The rapidly evolving landscape of applications has changed the way we socialize, conduct bank transactions, find our way to a friend's house, and track diet and exercise.

To mimic real-life use of the app, the group using "Lose It" received no dietary quality advice. Groups using the smartphone memo and traditional paper and pencil methods received one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions and weekly reminders to eat healthy. A personalized diet plan was developed for these participants, supplemented by a suggested exercise plan.

"While no difference in weight loss was noted between the three groups, we found that participants who monitored their diet with either an application or the memo function on a smartphone were more likely to persist in the study and missed fewer days of entering dietary data, compared to those monitoring via paper and pencil," said Wharton, associate professor of nutrition at ASU's School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. "This may be due to ease of use."

"At the individual level, dietary self-monitoring has been identified as one of the most successful tools for managing body weight, so this is an interesting finding," said Johnston, professor of nutrition at the school.

Little research exists on the benefits of health-focused applications from the user's perspective, and on whether smartphone technology offers a superior platform for tracking and collecting health-related data. Much of past research has focused on the use of personal digital assistants or PDAs as digital mobile devices for diet monitoring.

"We hope that this study will lead to future research on apps that include feedback, not only in terms of calories but also in terms of overall quality, and how they could influence health outcomes," said Wharton. "We also hope that continued research will improve the choice of diet-based apps available to smartphone users, especially ones that focus on how using smartphones for diet tracking can influence diet choices over time."



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All