Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease
Objectives : The prevalence of overweight and obesity has become a major public health concern in the United States. Snacks contribute to the diet quality in youth, which is often poor. Currently, there is a USDA guideline for healthy snacks which is lost in translation when youth are faced with the decision to choose a snack. This could be done using a smartphone application (app) to help identify healthy and unhealthy snacks. This study aimed to develop a user-friendly app to provide a simple output by assigning a score and feedback based on how compliant the snack is to the USDA guideline for healthy snacks and to evaluate it.
Methods : “Snackability” app was developed following the ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation) model. The app was pilot tested with 12 non-nutrition college age students (18-25 years) using a mixed method approach. Participants were instructed to use the app for 2 weeks. After this time, we evaluated the app in 2 ways: (1) using a questionnaire to evaluate if thefeasibility, usability, satisfaction, and acceptability was >50%; and (2) using focus groups to explore participants’ experiences and feedbacks with the app, which were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded to generate themes by NVivo software. This study was approved by the IRB and all participants signed an informed consent.
Results : The developed app had a simple score (0–10) and feedback. The higher the score, the healthier the snack is. The app feasibility and usability was significantly greater than 50% (p < 0.05). Participants reported that the app was a good way to help individuals select and consume healthy snacks and the feature that they liked most about the app was the output and creating awareness of snack intake. However, they liked the least the search page. To improve the app, participants suggested to include specific scores and feedback, weekly average score report and consumed history tab for tracking progress, gamification, notifications, and the option to add snacks not found in the app. These suggestions were incorporated in the second version of the app.
Conclusions : “Snackability” app translates the USDA guideline into a simple score to help identify healthy snacks. We showed that it was feasible and usable and several features were improved as suggested by participants.
Funding Sources : Florida International University Internal funds.