A picture a day: The feasibility and acceptability of a food photo-journal intervention among female ethnic minority students

Abstract

Objectives: Rates of obesity in adolescents have increased dramatically over the past three decades from 5.0% to 17.6% and show inequalities among racial/ethnic groups, with highest rates reported among Black and Hispanic youth. With 96% of college students owning a mobile phone, technology-based interventions are more feasible and may hold greater appeal to this group. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of using an online food-photo journal to increase healthy eating among Black and Hispanic students. æMethods: Participants were Northeastern University female students recruited through advertisements. Students utilized a camera phone to monitor their daily food intake and received three text messages each day reminding them to adhere to their pre-selected personal nutrition goals. æParticipants completed a baseline self-assessment and uploaded their food photographs from each meal to a secure website to monitor their eating behaviors over three weeks. æResults: Over the first three weeks of the study, 65 inquiries were received, indicating a high degree of interest. æTo date, 40 students, out of the targeted 50, have been enrolled in the study. ParticipantsÍ mean age was 18.97 years and most were second year students (62%). Reported race/ethnicity was Black (50%), Hispanic (41%), and biracial (9%). æResults from the survey data examining body image and eating attitudes as well as examples of participantsÍ food photographs will be presented. æConclusion: æThe rapid recruitment rate signals a need both for more research in this area and potentially greater dietary support for ethnically diverse students on campus.