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Children’s accuracy of portion size estimation using digital food images: effects of interface design and size of image on computer screen

  • Tom Baranowski (a1), Janice C Baranowski (a1), Kathleen B Watson (a1), Shelby Martin (a1), Alicia Beltran (a1), Noemi Islam (a1), Hafza Dadabhoy (a1), Su-heyla Adame (a1), Karen Cullen (a1), Debbe Thompson (a1), Richard Buday (a2) and Amy Subar (a3)...
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To test the effect of image size and presence of size cues on the accuracy of portion size estimation by children.

Design

Children were randomly assigned to seeing images with or without food size cues (utensils and checked tablecloth) and were presented with sixteen food models (foods commonly eaten by children) in varying portion sizes, one at a time. They estimated each food model’s portion size by selecting a digital food image. The same food images were presented in two ways: (i) as small, graduated portion size images all on one screen or (ii) by scrolling across large, graduated portion size images, one per sequential screen.

Setting

Laboratory-based with computer and food models.

Subjects

Volunteer multi-ethnic sample of 120 children, equally distributed by gender and ages (8 to 13 years) in 2008–2009.

Results

Average percentage of correctly classified foods was 60·3 %. There were no differences in accuracy by any design factor or demographic characteristic. Multiple small pictures on the screen at once took half the time to estimate portion size compared with scrolling through large pictures. Larger pictures had more overestimation of size.

Conclusions

Multiple images of successively larger portion sizes of a food on one computer screen facilitated quicker portion size responses with no decrease in accuracy. This is the method of choice for portion size estimation on a computer.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email tbaranow@bcm.tmc.edu
References
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
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