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Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2010 Dec;7(4):191-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6787.2009.00173.x.

Evidence review of technology and dietary assessment.

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  • 1Department of Nursing, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX 79407, USA.



Diets high in fruit and vegetable consumption are associated with a decrease in chronic diseases. Dietary factors are linked to 4 of the 10 leading noncommunicable causes of death: cardiovascular disease, some cancers, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Accurately measuring dietary patterns has many challenges. Dietary intake measurement has traditionally relied on self-report instruments such as 24-hour recall, food record, and food frequency questionnaires to record consumption history. These methods have inherent limitations in detecting small but important changes in fruit and vegetable consumption patterns. Promising advances in technology have made more sophisticated techniques for recording dietary intake possible. Computers and Web-based programs, handheld personal digital assistants with cameras and telephone cards, smart phones, cameras, and video recorders options may reduce the burden of recording what has been consumed. Furthermore, technology-based methods of dietary assessment may provide a higher degree of reliability and validity in visually determining fruit and vegetable consumption, and additional study is warranted.


The purpose of this article is to present a review of the evidence on the effectiveness of technology-based methods for dietary assessment, which included fruit and vegetable consumption.


One hundred and eighty-seven articles published between 1998 and 2008 were initially identified. Fifteen met the study inclusion criteria and were evaluated by an interdisciplinary team using the Stetler Strength of Evidence Scale.


Six technology-based methods for dietary assessment were identified. Findings from validity and reliability testing of technology-based methods are encouraging and need replication. Clinically important features offered through technology may reduce reporting burden and offer behavioral feedback to users. Methodologically sound, empirical research into using technology-based application for dietary assessment in a variety of populations of sufficient size is needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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