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How healthy is your diet? Online study on nutrition evaluation – University of Reading

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How healthy is your diet? Online study on nutrition evaluation

Release Date 13 September 2017

Volunteers can take part in the trial and get free advice on diet and exercise

Free personalised online nutritional guidance is being offered by nutritionists as part of a new trial run by the University of Reading.

EatWellUK is a new study using a straightforward web application designed and developed at the University of Reading, centered on physical activity and food questionnaires, which can evaluate the quality of your dietary intake and generate a personalised nutrition report.

The University of Reading is now looking for volunteers to take part in the trial and receive free guidance about their diet and physical activity.

Dr Faustina Hwang, an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Reading, said:

“This is an exciting study which we are hoping provides an easy to use platform for personalized nutrition information, which we have found to be more effective than general population recommendations for dietary change.

“Non-communicable diseases kill 40 million people each year, and healthy diets and physical activity play a key role in reducing the risk from diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. We hope that new technologies like the EatWellUK app can make personalised nutrition advice more accessible to the wider public, and help people to have healthier diets.”

"It’s our hope that as many people as possible, even people who might be concerned about using an app like this, can benefit from personalised nutritional information” - Rodrigo Zenun Franco, University of Reading

Participating in this study involves three online interactions of approximately 20 minutes each. You will be asked to create an account in the study website, provide information about your characteristics (gender, age, height and weight), and complete a physical activity and a diet questionnaire. You will need to repeat the physical activity and diet questionnaires after 6 and 12 weeks.

Rodrigo Zenun Franco, who designed the web application, said:

"The web application has been designed to be as simple to use as possible, and can be browsed from different devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It’s our hope that as many people as possible, even people who might be concerned about using an app like this, can benefit from personalised nutritional information.”

Volunteers can sign up online on the EatWellUK website, and will need to be 18 and over living in the UK, without any diagnosed health conditions (e.g. diabetes), without any food allergies or intolerances, who are not on a special diet (e.g. pregnancy or vegan) and who are not receiving face-to-face nutritional services at the moment.

More information can be found at eatwelluk.org>>>

This project is a collaboration between the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition in the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy and the Biomedical Engineering Section in the School of Biological Sciences.  The work is supported by the British Nutrition Foundation and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

 

Useful links:

A research paper looking at important challenges around developing digital technology (desktop applications and smartphone/mobile applications) for measuring diet:
doi.org/10.2196/humanfactors.7287

A research paper comparing key features of popular nutrition apps, noting that none of the apps reviewed had capabilities for providing personalised diet advice:
doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.5846

A final paper looking at the effectiveness of personalised nutrition advice provided via the internet:

doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw186

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