ASSESSMENT OF DIETARY INTAKES USING DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND SMARTPHONE APPLICATION AMONG NORMAL AND OVERWEIGHT YOUNG ADULT FEMALES
Introduction: Assessment of dietary intakes in the population continuously challenges the researchers due to various limitations. The emergence of numerous technologies in assessing dietary intakes provide potential advantages especially among young generation. Furthermore, dietary intakes among young adults raise great concern as they are not frequently involved in healthy eating. Aims: Therefore, this study explored the use of technology-based dietary records to assess the dietary intakes among normal and overweight young adult females. Smartphone food diary application (MyFitnessPal) was used to compare the dietary intakes between normal and overweight groups. MyFitnessPal was also used to compare the dietary intakes of participants to the Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI) 2017. Digital photography was used to compare the portion size intakes of the participants to the recommended portion size of Malaysian healthy plate. Methods: A total of 74 participants aged between 19 and 24 years old were recruited (n= 37 for normal weight group, n= 37 for overweight group). Participants were required to record their dietary intakes using a smartphone food diary application and capture photos of three main meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner using digital photography for two weekdays and one weekend. All dietary data and photos were sent to the researcher via Whatsapp for analysis. Data analysis was performed using SPSS Version 12.0. Statistically significant result was set at p< 0.05. Results: The findings demonstrated no significant difference in term of dietary intakes except for iron intake between normal and overweight young adult females (p= 0.042). Intake of energy and all nutrients were significantly lower than RNI except for polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). It was also found that portion of carbohydrate intake among young adult females was significantly higher than recommendation by Malaysian healthy plate “suku suku separuh” (p= 0.001); whereas portion of protein (p=0.001) as well as fruit and vegetables intake (p= 0.001) were significantly lower. Conclusions: This study indicates that positive outcomes in the dietary intakes among participants may be contributed by the self-monitoring abilities of technology devices. However, excessive and inadequate intakes of certain nutrients were identified.
Keywords: Digital Photography, Food Diary Application, Diet, Young adult, Females