Approaches to Food Journaling on Mobile Devices
Andrew, Adrienne Hope
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A healthy diet has the power to both prevent and heal disease, and the high rates of lifestyle- and diet-related disease in America indicates the need for tools to help improve diet. Self-monitoring one's food intake is considered key to improve one's eating behaviors. The consumer demand for health and wellness tools, especially on personal, always-with-us mobile devices, shows both the interest on behalf of users and the resources on behalf of creators. However, few individuals are able to sustain the self-monitoring practice for an appropriate length of time, and many people complain about the poor experience they have had using food journals. I examine self-monitoring of food intake using mobile phones. The BALANCE project examines a more traditional approach of using an extensive food database to look up and monitor calorie counts. The POND project addresses challenges of the traditional approach by focusing on monitoring the pattern of food intake in terms of food groups and key nutrients. Overall, I characterize problems people encounter using a traditional database-oriented food journal, provide motivation for rethinking this approach, and describe a series of studies that investigate the use of a reduced-detail self-monitoring tool for dietary intake.