The application of a handheld personal digital assistant with camera and mobile phone card (Wellnavi) to the general population in a dietary survey.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES The accuracy of dietary recalls might be enhanced by providing participants with photo images of foods they consumed during the test period. SUBJECTS/METHODS We examined the feasibility of a system (Image-Diet Day) that is a user-initiated camera-equipped mobile phone that is programmed to automatically capture and transmit images to a secure website in conjunction with computer-assisted, multipass, 24-h dietary recalls in 14 participants during 2007. Participants used the device during eating periods on each of the three independent days. Image processing filters successfully eliminated underexposed, overexposed and blurry images. The captured images were accessed by the participants using the ImageViewer software while completing the 24-h dietary recall on the following day. RESULTS None of the participants reported difficulty using the ImageViewer. Images were deemed 'helpful' or 'sort of helpful' by 93% of participants. A majority (79%) of users reported having no technical problems, but 71% rated the burden of wearing the device as somewhat to very difficult, owing to issues such as limited battery life, self-consciousness about wearing the device in public and concerns about the field of view of the camera. CONCLUSION Overall, these findings suggest that automated imaging is a promising technology to facilitate dietary recall. The challenge of managing the thousands of images generated can be met. Smaller devices with a broader field of view may aid in overcoming self-consciousness of the user with using or wearing the device.