Purdue Researchers Focus on Nutrition with Camera Diet Study

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A Purdue University team here plans to help health-conscious people better gauge the nutritional value of what's on their plates by using their cell phone cameras.

Carol Boushey, an associate professor in the department of foods and nutrition at the University, said the project would expand on a technique already in use by adding a strong scientific grounding. Currently, dieters can subscribe to online sites that monitor eating habits by critiquing photos they send of their meals. The idea offers busy people the chance to get nutritional feedback without spending time writing down all of their meals, drinks, and snacks.

"What makes our proposal different is that we're designing the software to better evaluate portion sizes and nutritional content,” Boushey said in a statement. “Some of those online sites have sent messages to people advising them to stop drinking a soda when they were actually drinking tea. That will not happen here."

The work is funded as part of a larger initiative, the Exposure Biology Program, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health. The team will receive $452,000 during the first year of an expected four-year study.

The program focuses on technological developments that better assess exposures to environmental stressors, including chemical and biological agents, dietary intake, physical activity, psychosocial stress, and addictive substances.
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