Abstract 20780: Diet and Nutrition Smartphone Apps Demonstrate Poor Adherence to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Introduction: A key component of cardiovascular disease prevention is dietary modification. Many smartphone apps claim to help their users achieve healthy eating patterns. Although these apps have been subjected to a growing body of usability and efficacy trials, there is a lack of research into whether these apps comply with evidence-based practice.
Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that popular smartphone apps, specifically those featured under the “Health and Fitness” category of the Google Play and iTunes app store, adhere to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).
Methods: 32 apps were evaluated using previously established and validated mobile health evaluation techniques with modifications that addressed our specific aim of assessing adherence to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Results: Although 72% of apps on average are partially adherent to the five overarching healthy eating pattern components of the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines as seen in Figure (Rec 1: Healthy eating pattern; Rec 2: Appropriate calorie limit; Rec 3: Nutrient dense foods and beverages; Rec 4: Variety of foods and beverages; Rec 5: Community outreach, social support), the majority of the apps received a low index score when it came to addressing DGA-recommended daily amounts of food groups (75%) and subgroups (84%) that comprise a healthy eating pattern. Apps were more likely to address expert recommended food group intake (25%) and only 16% offered clear information or advice on daily subgroup intake.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that most of the smartphone apps that claim to improve an individual’s diet, nutrition, and/or eating habits are not compliant with evidence-based guidelines. It is important that app developers address this information gap so as to safely and effectively achieve the app’s stated goals.
Author Disclosures: T. Dhawan: None. B.G. Choi: None. R.J. Katz: None.
- © 2016 by American Heart Association, Inc.