Health

New app helps people eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day


New app helps people eat right portions to reach 5 servings a day

The user selects food or drink from a wide selection of icons. Credit: Bournemouth University

A new app has been developed to help people reach the recommended goal of eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

It tells users whether they are eating the right portions as well as the right foods to meet the recommended guidelines from the Health Authority in the UK.

previous research from Bournemouth University have found that while most UK adults are aware of the message every five days, their understanding of how to approach it is low.

“Most people know that they should eat five meals a day,” said Katherine Appleton, a professor of psychology at Bournemouth University who led the research and development of the new app. “But when we look a little further, it’s clear that a lot of people don’t know what affects goals, they don’t know what goals are.” portion size and many people don’t realize that they need to eat five different things.

She added: “Our studies also show that lower knowledge is associated with less fruit and vegetable consumption.

Figures from Public Health England have shown that only a third of adults and 12% of children aged 11 to 18 eat the recommended amount.

The free SMART-5-A-DAY app has been specifically created to help people understand portion sizes and see how the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat contributes to their daily goals. The user selects the fruit or vegetables they just ate and will then be asked to enter how much they ate. The app then tells them how much makes up a full or partial and how much more is needed to make up the full portion. It also keeps their total progress toward the five-day-a-day goal.

  • New app helps people eat right portions to reach 5 servings a day

    The user enters the quantity of each fruit and vegetable they have consumed. Credit: Bournemouth University

  • New app helps people eat right portions to reach 5 servings a day

    The app tells users whether they’ve consumed all or part of it, what it takes to make up a full portion, and keeps tally their progress up to 5 per day. Credit: Bournemouth University

“The unique thing about this app is that, as well as daily fruit tracking and vegetable quantity, it teaches people about portion sizes, so they know what they need to eat. We think this will be an effective tool to improve people’s diets over the long term, rather than just in the short term when they use the app,” said Professor Appleton.

Research of an earlier prototype found that it had some benefit to users’ eating habits and their understanding of what was needed to reach the recommended daily intake.

The version released today incorporates several updates from feedback after trying the prototype, which the researchers hope will lead to larger changes in users’ eating behaviors.

SMART 5-A-DAY will be available in the Google Play Store for Android phones starting December 29.

quote: New app that helps people eat five servings of fruit and veg a day (2022, December 28) retrieved December 28, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-app- people-portions-fruit-veg. html

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