2021/09/03 | Research | Artificial Intelligence

User Preferences of Nutrition Apps

The Artificial Intelligence for Health and Nutrition research group (AIHN) has conducted a study of adult smartphone app users for health and diet monitoring. In collaboration with the Inselspital and CentraleSupélec, the researchers sought to explore the perspectives of end users on the features, current use, and acceptance of nutrition and diet mHealth apps with a web-based survey. Goal was to provide user insights to assist researchers and developers in building innovative dietary assessments.

Smartphone users look for easy to use, free nutrition apps that can automatically estimate food type and portion size, calculating caloric and macronutrient content. (Photo: Adrian Moser © University of Bern)

A total of 2382 respondents completed the survey, about half of them already users of nutrition or diet app. Users preferred easy-to-use free apps that could produce automatic readings of caloric content (51.7%) and macronutrient content (46.9%). Criteria that made an app less attractive were incorrect estimation of portion size, calories, or nutrient content (33.5%) or databases that did not include local foods (27.5%) or that omit major foods (41%).

The comprehensive study in a mostly European population will benefit researchers to understand user needs to develop innovative dietary assessment tools or conduct research on behavioral changes related to nutrition.