The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a critical period for the development of healthy behaviors. Yet, it is often characterized by unhealthy food choices. Considering the current pandemic scenario, it is also essential to assess the effects of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) on lifestyles and diet, especially among young people. However, the assessment of dietary habits and their determinants is a complex issue that requires innovative approaches and tools, such as those based on the ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Here, we describe the first phases of the “HEALTHY-UNICT” project, which aimed to develop and validate a web-app for the EMA of dietary data among students from the University of Catania, Italy. The pilot study included 138 students (mean age 24 years, SD = 4.2; 75.4% women), who used the web-app for a week before filling out a food frequency questionnaire with validation purposes. Dietary data obtained through the two tools showed moderate correlations, with the lowest value for butter and margarine and the highest for pizza (Spearman’s correlation coefficients of 0.202 and 0.699, respectively). According to the cross-classification analysis, the percentage of students classified into the same quartile ranged from 36.9% for vegetable oil to 58.1% for pizza. In line with these findings, the weighted-kappa values ranged from 0.15 for vegetable oil to 0.67 for pizza, and most food categories showed values above 0.4. This web-app showed good usability among students, assessed through a 19-item usability scale. Moreover, the web-app also had the potential to evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ behaviors and emotions, showing a moderate impact on sedentary activities, level of stress, and depression. These findings, although interesting, might be confirmed by the next phases of the HEALTHY-UNICT project, which aims to characterize lifestyles, dietary habits, and their relationship with anthropometric measures and emotions in a larger sample of students.

Development of a Web-App for the Ecological Momentary Assessment of Dietary Habits among College Students: The HEALTHY-UNICT Project

Barchitta M.
;
Maugeri A.;Favara G.;Magnano San Lio R.;Riela P. M.;Guarnera L.;Battiato S.;Agodi A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a critical period for the development of healthy behaviors. Yet, it is often characterized by unhealthy food choices. Considering the current pandemic scenario, it is also essential to assess the effects of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) on lifestyles and diet, especially among young people. However, the assessment of dietary habits and their determinants is a complex issue that requires innovative approaches and tools, such as those based on the ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Here, we describe the first phases of the “HEALTHY-UNICT” project, which aimed to develop and validate a web-app for the EMA of dietary data among students from the University of Catania, Italy. The pilot study included 138 students (mean age 24 years, SD = 4.2; 75.4% women), who used the web-app for a week before filling out a food frequency questionnaire with validation purposes. Dietary data obtained through the two tools showed moderate correlations, with the lowest value for butter and margarine and the highest for pizza (Spearman’s correlation coefficients of 0.202 and 0.699, respectively). According to the cross-classification analysis, the percentage of students classified into the same quartile ranged from 36.9% for vegetable oil to 58.1% for pizza. In line with these findings, the weighted-kappa values ranged from 0.15 for vegetable oil to 0.67 for pizza, and most food categories showed values above 0.4. This web-app showed good usability among students, assessed through a 19-item usability scale. Moreover, the web-app also had the potential to evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ behaviors and emotions, showing a moderate impact on sedentary activities, level of stress, and depression. These findings, although interesting, might be confirmed by the next phases of the HEALTHY-UNICT project, which aims to characterize lifestyles, dietary habits, and their relationship with anthropometric measures and emotions in a larger sample of students.
2022
College students
COVID-19 pandemic
Ecological momentary assessment
Healthy behaviors
Adult
Diet
Ecological Momentary Assessment
Female
Humans
Italy
Male
Pilot Projects
Program Development
Students
Surveys and Questionnaires
Universities
Young Adult
Feeding Behavior
Health Behavior
Mobile Applications
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/522197
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