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Barriers and Negative Nudges: UW CSE research team led by James Fogarty co-authors new study of mobile food journaling

James Fogarty

James Fogarty

UW CSE professor James Fogarty, PhD students Felicia Cordeiro and Daniel Epstein, and Dub group researcher Elizabeth Bales co-authored a paper with researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology examining mobile food journaling.

The paper, Barriers and Negative Nudges: Exploring Challenges in Food Journaling, identifies various pitfalls that prevent users from persisting with their food journals and considers how technology can more effectively help people meet their goals when it comes to developing healthy eating habits. The team’s findings, which were based on a survey of 141 current and past food journalers and an analysis of more than 5,500 posts in community forums, will be presented at the ACM’s CHI 2015 conference in Seoul, South Korea later this month.

CHI 2015 conference logoFrom the UW press release:

“Food journals are an important method for tracking food consumption and can support a variety of goals, including weight loss, healthier food choices, detecting deficiencies, identifying allergies and determining foods that trigger other symptoms,” said co-author James Fogarty, a UW associate professor of computer science and engineering.

“Instead of attempting to capture the elusive ‘everything,’ the results suggest creating a diversity of journal designs to support specific goals,” Fogarty said.

Based on their findings, the team at UW is exploring how photo-based journaling might reduce barriers to journaling by augmenting or eliminating altogether the need to focus on detailed nutritional input, while the Georgia Tech team is testing the use of a mobile device’s microphone to recognize eating sounds and nudge users to log their food.

Read the full press release here.