Technology-Based Methods for Measurement of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: A Preliminary Report

Monday, July 11, 2011

JoAnn D. Long, RN, PhD, NEA-BC
Department of Nursing, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX
Gina Kuenzi, BSN
Cath Lab, University Medical Center, Lubbock, TX
Carol Boswell, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF
Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Odessa, TX
Gary Estep, PhD
Department of Science, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX
Laurel Littlefield, BS, MS, ACSM-HFS
Department of Exercise, Nutrition, and Preventive Health, Baylor University, Waco, TX
Toby Rogers, PhD, MPT
Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX
Brent Shriver, PhD
School of Health Professions, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Laredo Extension Campus, Laredo, TX
Carmen Roman-Shriver, PhD, RD, LD
Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of Texas HSCSA Laredo Campus, Laredo, VT
Dean Culpepper, PhD
Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX

Learning Objective 1: Discuss preliminary findings of a study comparing the effectiveness of technology-based methods (MyPyramid Tracker with and without cell phone for memory prompt) for fruit/vegetable consumption;

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the implications of the study focus group findings for using technology-based methods of dietary assessment to promote healthy eating in a college-age population.

Purpose:  Insufficient fruit/vegetable intake is among the ten leading risk factors for global mortality and is linked to the rising incidence of obesity worldwide (World Health Organization, 2009).  Evidence suggests accurately measuring dietary intake is problematic. The purpose of this study is to test a technology-based method of dietary assessment for fruit/vegetable recording using cell-phones with digital picture capability, for memory prompt.  

Methods:  A quasi-experimental cross-over design was used.  The research questions are: 1) What is the effectiveness of recording fruit/vegetable consumption using cell phone digital pictures for memory prompt in conjunction with the MyPyramid Tracker website as compared to entry into MyPyramid Tracker website alone in a college-age population, and 2) What is the acceptability and feasibility of these methods for recording diet in preparation for use in future interventional research targeting increasing healthy eating among youths?

Results: Data was collected from 67 college-age students enrolled in a private university in the fall of 2010.  Subjects recorded three days of diet in MyPyramid Tracker using memory only and three days using digital pictures as a memory prompt over a 2 week period.  Average fruit and vegetable scores with and without the use of the cell phone digital pictures will be compared by t-test.  Data analysis is in progress for research question one.  Data for research 2 was collected from focus groups.

Conclusion: Focus group findings suggest the use of technology-based methods for recording fruit/vegetable consumption including the use of digital cell phone pictures as a memory prompt was acceptable and feasible in this population.  An iPhone Application was recommended and developed to ease connection to MyPyramid Tracker as a result of focus group feedback. Roger’s theory of Diffusion of Innovation was utilized in this study and is suggested as a possible model for testing technology-based methods of fruit/vegetable consumption.