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Exploring an Artificial Intelligence-Based, Gamified Phone App Prototype to Track and Improve Food Choices of Adolescent Girls in Vietnam: Acceptability, Usability, and Likeability Study

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Jul 21;6(7):e35197. doi: 10.2196/35197.


BACKGROUND: Adolescents’ consumption of healthy foods is suboptimal in low- and middle-income countries. Adolescents’ fondness for games and social media and the increasing access to smartphones make apps suitable for collecting dietary data and influencing their food choices. Little is known about how adolescents use phones to track and shape their food choices.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the acceptability, usability, and likability of a mobile phone app prototype developed to collect dietary data using artificial intelligence-based image recognition of foods, provide feedback, and motivate users to make healthier food choices. The findings were used to improve the design of the app.

METHODS: A total of 4 focus group discussions (n=32 girls, aged 15-17 years) were conducted in Vietnam. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed by grouping ideas into common themes based on content analysis and ground theory.

RESULTS: Adolescents accepted most of the individual- and team-based dietary goals presented in the app prototype to help them make healthier food choices. They deemed the overall app wireframes, interface, and graphic design as acceptable, likable, and usable but suggested the following modifications: tailored feedback based on users’ medical history, anthropometric characteristics, and fitness goals; new language on dietary goals; provision of information about each of the food group dietary goals; wider camera frame to fit the whole family food tray, as meals are shared in Vietnam; possibility of digitally separating food consumption on shared meals; and more appealing graphic design, including unique badge designs for each food group. Participants also liked the app’s feedback on food choices in the form of badges, notifications, and statistics. A new version of the app was designed incorporating adolescent’s feedback to improve its acceptability, usability, and likability.

CONCLUSIONS: A phone app prototype designed to track food choice and help adolescent girls from low- and middle-income countries make healthier food choices was found to be acceptable, likable, and usable. Further research is needed to examine the feasibility of using this technology at scale.

PMID:35862147 | DOI:10.2196/35197

By Nevin Manimala

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