For Immediate Release
7th April 2022
Volunteers Sought for Research on Nutrition Apps
Many people use nutrition apps to track their diet and improve their health, but are they effective? And what can be done to improve them? It is these questions that researchers in University College Dublin are looking for your help to answer. In return, all those who
participate will be offered a free personalised feedback report on their dietary intakes. Those seeking to participate can sign up at www.mealstudy.ie.
What’s involved? The study is being conducted entirely online. We will ask those who sign up to use two different online systems on the same day to record the food they ate on the previous day. We’ll then ask them to repeat this process two weeks later and complete a short evaluation questionnaire.
The research is being carried out by dietitian and PhD student Cathal O’Hara under the supervision of Professor Eileen Gibney and is funded by Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.
Notes to Editor
Cathal O’Hara is a registered dietitian and is currently in the third year of a four-year PhD programme in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, the UCD Institute of Food and Health, and Insight (The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Data Analytics).
Professor Eileen Gibney is a professor of human nutrition in UCD. She is a Deputy Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health and sits on the Public Health Nutrition Sub-Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and on the Advisory Committee of SafeFood.
A recent survey of 2382 European adults found that over half had used a nutrition app of some description. Nearly 30% reported tracking their diets, and, of these more than 40% used an app to do so. About 66% of people value ease of use and convenience when it comes to nutrition apps.
Spending too much time on tracking and over-focusing on numbers is unlikely to be helpful and can sometimes take the focus away from achieving a healthy variety of different types of foods and meals.
The current study aims to determine whether a new process of dietary tracking that is easier and quicker to use can also be as accurate as existing methods.