Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Stephen Pintauro


The powerful technical capabilities of smartphones offer unprecedented opportunities for collecting dietary information. We have developed an enhanced smartphone application called MyEnergyBalance, which permits imaged-based self-monitoring of all foods consumed, and links to a convenient and user-friendly web-based dietary assessment tool. The primary objective of this pilot study was to determine if the MyEnergyBalance app (with use of images) in combination of the associated website improves dietary recall compared to diet analysis on the MyEnergyBalance website alone. We also generated preliminary data on the usability of the MyEnergyBalance iPhone app and website. This pilot study was a crossover study design of healthy, college students. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups. Both groups consumed their normal diet for the first day with one group recording their food intake with image functions of the MyEnergyBalance app, while the other group did not use the app. On the second day, all participants logged into the MyEnergyBalance website to record their food intake from the previous day; one group using the images from the app to assist in recalling what they ate, while the other group recalled what they ate from memory. The diet analysis results were compared to those obtained using the ASA24 website. The groups were then crossed over to the opposite vs no-image assisted recalls. Ten participants (seven females and three males) aged 20 to 22 years completed this study. The average BMI of all participants was 23.12 kg/m2 (ranging from 18.95 to 32.28 kg/m2). There was no statistically significant differences in the estimates of the energy intake between the MyEnergyBalance app and website compared to ASA24. The SUS mean score for the MyEnergyBalance app and website was 86 and 69.5, respectively. A strong, negative correlation was found between the system usability scale scores and the absolute differences in energy intake of the MyEnergyBalance app and ASA24. Although we were not able to demonstrate a significant benefit of the images from the iPhone app at improving food recall (perhaps due to the small study sample size), we were able to demonstrate a high usability score for the iPhone app, average usability score for the website, and a significant correlation between subjects' usability scores and relative accuracy of the subjects' food recall using the images from the iPhone app. A future study with a larger sample size will hopefully provide more information on the efficacy of image-based food recalls.



Number of Pages

69 p.