(HealthDay)—Pictures taken on cell phone-based digital cameras can function as a memory prompt to more accurately recall fruit and vegetable intake, according to a study published in the February issue of Applied Nursing Research.
JoAnn D. Long, Ph.D., R.N., from Lubbock Christian University in Texas, and colleagues examined the effectiveness of cell phones with digital cameras to act as a memory prompt in conjunction with mypyramidtracker.gov to estimate fruit and vegetable intake in a group of 69 college students. Feedback was provided by focus groups on the acceptability, usability, and feasibility of cell phones for recording diet in this study population.
The researchers found that the use of cell phone pictures for memory prompt improved the accuracy of dietary recall of fruits and vegetables. There was a statistically significant difference in fruit and vegetable scores (P = 0.04) for those using cell phones for short-term memory prompt together with mypyramidtracker.gov compared with using mypyramidtracker.gov alone. Based on the feedback, the use of cell phone pictures was considered acceptable, beneficial, and quick/easy, and functioned as a memory prompt.
"The results of this study provide a foundation for future research aimed at using cell phones to overcome the methodological problem of short-term memory in dietary self-report and for interventional research aimed at obesity and chronic disease prevention," the authors write. "The replication and testing of this methodology in a larger, more diverse sample are suggested."