Feasibility of mobile technology for monitoring dietary intake in resource-limited communities: Investigating the use of digital food records in the Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment in Washington, D.C
Resource-limited communities have less access to nutrient-dense food, contributing to poor dietary intake and disproportionately high obesity and cardiovascular disease rates. Dietary intake self-monitoring is essential for behavioral interventions promoting improved nutrition. Traditional dietary assessment methods have several limitations including self-report and an inability to assess dietary intake in real time. Dietary assessment methods incorporating technology may address some of these limitations. However, little is known about the feasibility of mobile technology usage for dietary assessment in resource-limited communities.
This community-based pilot study (NCT: NCT01927783) evaluates the feasibility of digital food record technology among church-based populations in resource-limited Washington, D.C. wards.
Participants (n=18) were instructed to photo-document 3-day dietary intake using a digital food record on a Wi-Fi-dependent, mobile device. Participants were required to photograph all meals before and after consumption. Feasibility was defined as successfully capturing before and after images for at least two meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack) on three days.
Fifteen participants (83.3%) photo-documented meals during the study period. On average, participants logged 2.8+0.8 meals/day. Twelve participants (67.7%) captured at least one photo for 2 meals/day for 3 days. Only 3 participants (16.7%) presented meal data as directed (i.e. before and after photos for 2 meals/day for 3 days). The majority captured images on at least one weekend day, as directed.
Although most participants photo-documented their meals for the required 3 days, they were less successful at including both before and after meal photos. These findings suggest that, with additional training or reminders, use of a digital food record is feasible in assessing dietary intake for this population in Washington, D.C. Implementing digital food records specifically requires training or reminders on the importance of before and after photos to ensure accurate assessment of dietary intake data.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Describe strategies for piloting and evaluating a technology-driven community-based intervention for monitoring dietary intake; Identify barriers to digital food record use in resource-limited communities; Discuss strategies to overcome barriers to device use for monitoring dietary intake in resource-limited communities.
Keyword(s): Community-Based Research (CBPR), Dietary Assessment
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellow at the NIH. My research focuses on social determinants of obesity and cardiovascular risk, and I am an Associate Investigator for the Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment in Washington D.C. My scientific interests include dietary and physical activity objective measures, technology, health disparities and community-based participatory research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.