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Do Image-Assisted Mobile Applications Improve Dietary Habits, Knowledge, and Behaviours in Elite Athletes? A Pilot Study

1
Discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics, FM & HS, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
2
School of Life and Environmental Services, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
3
High Performance Sport, AUT Millenium, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2017, 5(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports5030060
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 11 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical and Sports Nutrition)
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PDF [220 KB, uploaded 11 August 2017]

Abstract

To date, there has been a paucity of research on optimal ways to educate and promote dietary behavioural change within athletes. Optimising athlete nutrition is fundamental to reaching peak performance and maintaining athlete wellbeing. MealLogger® is a smartphone application that incorporates the use of an image-based food record and social-media functionality to provide in-application personalised feedback to individuals or groups, peer-support, and a platform to deliver nutrition education material. This study measured the feasibility of MealLogger® within New Zealand elite male field hockey players (n = 17) aged 18–20 to increase athlete knowledge and nutrition promoting behaviours. During a six-week intervention, participants were instructed to log images of their meals three days per week and they received individualised dietetic feedback on logged meals. Weekly nutrition-education fact-sheets and videos were delivered through the application. Nutrition knowledge increased moderately from baseline (%Pre 54.7 ± 14.3; %Post 61.1 ± 11.45, p = 0.01). Participants report a highly positive experience of application use (8/10) with 82.3% attempting to make positive changes in dietary behaviours based on in-app education. All participants preferred this method to traditional methods of dietary analysis. Using image-based applications such as MealLogger® is an effective approach to monitor dietary intake and deliver education to optimise the nutritional behaviours of elite athletes. View Full-Text
Keywords: athlete; nutrition; m-health; sport; food-diary athlete; nutrition; m-health; sport; food-diary
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Simpson, A.; Gemming, L.; Baker, D.; Braakhuis, A. Do Image-Assisted Mobile Applications Improve Dietary Habits, Knowledge, and Behaviours in Elite Athletes? A Pilot Study. Sports 2017, 5, 60.

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