Wednesday , August 15 2018

A Web-based Nutritional Assessment Tool

Raluca-Monica POP1, Marian POP2, Grigore DOGARU3, Vladimir C. BACAREA1
1 Department of Medical Research Methodology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy
38, Ghe. Marinescu Street, Târgu Mureş, 540000, Romania
2 Doctoral School, University of Medicine and Pharmacy
38, Ghe. Marinescu Street, Târgu Mureş, 540000, Romania
3 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy
38, Ghe. Marinescu Street, Târgu Mureş, 540000, Romania

Abstract: The aim of this study was to present a web-based nutritional assessment tool that offers the possibility to construct the personal food pyramid and interprets the metabolic profile of a patient. A web application was developed both for healthcare professionals and the general public that besides analyzing the eating habits also provides some specific recommendations for every user. After filling in some general information the user has the choice either to go to the interpretation or to complete a food frequency questionnaire that allows a thorough analysis of his/hers eating pattern. The advantages of this tool are its accessibility, the construction of the personal food pyramid and the fact that is developed in a home country.

Keywords: food pyramid, web-based tool, nutrition.

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CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Raluca-Monica POP, Marian POP,  Grigore DOGARU, Vladimir C. BACAREA, A Web-based Nutritional Assessment Tool, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 22 (3), pp. 307-314, 2013.

Introduction

The obesity epidemic has become a reality and a great number of interventional studies have been developed for its prevention and treatment, given the immense financial burden swallowed by this disease. Nutritional assessment tools are available throughout the world-wide-web more or less controlled or based on guides or professional information. The last decades have witnessed a great increase in the number of tools that help health professionals in their work. Although the nutritional assessment should be a part of the general evaluation, it’s time consuming and usually it resumes to a few general questions. Western economies have been using different types of assessment tools for developing national guidelines and recommendations [1, 2, 3].

The wide spread of computer users has switched the interest towards constructing new, easy to use web applications that can allow a more user-friendly approach to a difficult problem. The involvement of the patient in his/hers evaluation has many advantages, but, at the same time, there are flaws that cannot be controlled.

Food frequency questionnaires are a valuable method of nutritional assessment, using a list of foods and some options concerning the frequency of consumption of the foods listed. They are usually designed to gather information from large populations and are usually self-administered. Their strengths consist in: low respondent burden, suitable for large scale surveys, can be self-completed, can be posted. They also have some disadvantages: the need for estimation of portion size, possibly over-reporting of “healthy foods” [4].

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https://doi.org/10.24846/v22i3y201307