Image-based dietary assessment ability of dietetics students and interns
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Image-based dietary assessment (IBDA) may improve the accuracy of dietary assessments, but no formalized training currently exists for skills relating to IBDA. This study investigated nutrition and dietetics students’ and interns’ IBDA abilities, the training and experience factors that may contribute to food identification and quantification accuracy, and the perceived challenges to performing IBDA. An online survey containing images of known foods and serving sizes representing common American foods was used to assess the ability to identify foods and serving sizes. Nutrition and dietetics students and interns from the United States and Australia (n = 114) accurately identified foods 79.5% of the time. Quantification accuracy was lower, with only 38% of estimates within ±10% of the actual weight. Foods of amorphous shape or higher energy density had the highest percent error. Students expressed general difficulty with perceiving serving sizes, making IBDA food quantification more difficult. Experience cooking at home from a recipe, frequent measuring of portions, and having a food preparation or cooking laboratory class were associated with enhanced accuracy in IBDA. Future training of dietetics students should incorporate more food-based serving size training to improve quantification accuracy while performing IBDA, while advances in IBDA technology are also needed. © 2017 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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