In our western part of the world we are experiencing an increase in the number of people diagnosed
with lifestyle diseases, such as overweigth and diabetes. The treatment of such ailments depends on a
high degree of self-treatment and self-care by those suffering from these ailments. Therefore tools and
procedures that can support self-care are relevant to develop.
The Diet Diary manifests the attempt to create a tool that can assist people with food related problems
in situ. The Diet Diary is a handheld computer, a PDA equipped with a barcode reader that makes food assessments
and accessing information about food easy. The Diet Diary also enables other means of interaction, than
via barcode reading (not all food are equipped with barcodes).
The Alexandra Institute and ”Mobile and Wireless”, CIT support and supervise the project.
Symbol has sponsored the PDA’s and Aarhus County Hospital has participated in testing the prototype.
The intention is to create a tool that can assist people with food related problems by creating reflection
on the practice of interacting with a device that not only assists the memory and enables information
access in situ, but also is a concrete tool demanding attention.
The Diet Diary is related to the field of pervasive computing because it is a mobile device enabling a
situated use. But it differs from the “pervasive concept” of the computer as a transparent
background ressource, because the interaction with the device in this project is considered imperative
in creating reflection on food habits with a possible change of these as a result.
Type 2 diabetics tested the Diet Diary as a food assessment tool in the fall 2001. The quantitative results
of this test showed that the Diet Diary was equally good at capturing data as the traditional practice,
which is a handwritten assessment. The qualitative investigation showed - as expected - that the opinions
on using the device was diverse, going from the very positive over people that could not manage the use
of the device and to people that did not experience a need for such a device. For the health care professional
the Diet Diary presents a great potential because the data is digitalised instead of handwritten.
The Diet Diary is being developed by
- Henrik B. Helsinghoff
- Thorkild Hansen
- Peter Danholt
- Kjeld H. Mortensen, programmer Ph.D
- Søren Christensen, assistant professor