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Purdue researchers click nutrition with camera diet study
Date:9/10/2007

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

Carol Boushey, an associate professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition, 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.

"This idea of using cameras to evaluate your diet by snapping pictures of your meals is not a new one," Boushey said. "What makes our proposal different is that we're designing the software to better evaluate portion sizes and nutritional content. 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 team will receive $452,000 during the first year of an expected four-year study. 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.

Approximately $19 million was awarded during the first round of exposure biology grant announcements on Sept. 4. 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.

The Exposure Biology Program is one of two complementary research programs outlined in the Genes and Environment Initiative, a five-year effort by the National Institutes of Health to identify the genetic and environmental underpinnings of asthma, diabetes, cancer and other common illnesses.

Boushey, princ
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Contact: Tanya Brown
tanyabrown@purdue.edu
765-494-2079
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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