This feasibility study explored older adults’ use of a nutrition app called Appetitus (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/appetitt/id1001936854?ign-mpt=uo%3D2; https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=no.nr.appetitt&hl=e) and addressed their engagement in technology-mediated self-monitoring of diet. Undernutrition is a significant challenge among older adults and is associated with poorer health experiences. Digital health for self-monitoring of diet has the potential to increase awareness of personal nutrition, and the scarcity of research reporting older adults’ ability and willingness to engage in technology-mediated dietary self-monitoring warranted this study.
Design and Methods
An explorative mixed-methods design combining descriptive analysis of log data with qualitative analysis of interviews with Appetitus users was implemented.
Twenty-five older adults self-monitored their diet using Appetitus over an 8-week trial period. Eighty percent of the participants used the app regularly in the trial period. The most engaged users recorded their food consumption daily for 8 weeks. Personal interest in nutrition and commitment to the project facilitated regular use of Appetitus. Poor health and the perception that using a nutrition app lacked personal relevance contributed to irregular self-monitoring. For inexperienced technology users, participation in this project became a springboard to using tablet technology and the Internet beyond the Appetitus app.
The majority of the participants regularly used Appetitus for self-monitoring of diet; they found the tablet technology and Appetitus app easy to use.
Older adults are able and willing to use self-monitoring tools. Nutrition apps can empower older adults to make better informed decisions about their diet. Patients’ self-monitoring can provide valuable and detailed health-related information to healthcare professionals and mediate patient-centered care practices.
This item's license is: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International