Obesity represents the most common metabolic disorder in industrialised countries, but the excess of weight is a global burden. This disorder is reaching alarming proportions among adults, as well as young people.
The rising incidence of obesity implies a great concern and commitment for the healthcare system, as there is a strong association between obesity and the risk of developing different diseases, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, nocturnal apnea, osteoporosis, and cancer. Dieticians are interested in helping consumers to achieve their optimal well-being and to adopt healthy and sustainable diets. To really accompany and support dieticians in achieving these goals, nutrition software must include innovative tools and services to meet the increasing market needs.
Available nutrition software tools often miss to offer personalised recommendations to end-users
Nevertheless, available nutrition software solutions are still far away from being able to offer personalised suggestions to end users. Advanced nutritional software should allow much more than just deliver a meal plan, making possible for dieticians to communicate with the patients and generate meal plans according to the patient preferences and needs.
Some causes behind body weight
People become overweight and/or obese for a variety of reasons. Some common causes that are believed to be the driver of excess body weight are:
- Aggressive food advertising from mass media to increase the consumption of food intake (especially unhealthy food)
- Failure of the classic dietary prescription
- Consumption of food that is not in line with the individual’s profile (such as not considering the genetic factors)
Many studies confirm that mass media, in various formats, influences food choices and consumptions. While the mass media advertisements may contribute to the development of weight concerns, so far, the solutions to tackle this problem has been limited to classical dietary prescriptions.
Smartphones to promote healthy eating
As people are becoming more and more dependent on their mobile phones, this device may be used in a creative and beneficial way to combat obesity and promote healthy eating.
The use of smartphones to promote healthy eating and well-being can provide support for both individuals and dieticians:
- Individuals: for the diet application, since it can record the diet diary daily and compare the food intake with the nutritional goals prescribed by the dietitian.
- Dieticians: for the administration of a customised diet prescription and easily contact patients electronically.
The positive effect in managing the diet via mobile phone has been proven by METEDA in the development of solutions such as the DAI . Dietary prescriptions managed by DAI in association with educational telephone calls represent an alternative system to the classic diet prescription that was surprisingly effective. This advanced solution allows the individual to receive on his/her mobile phone a personalised nutritional plan elaborated by the dieticians.
Managing a diet via a smartphone has been proven successful as it provides more frequent and personalised guidelines and recommendations from dieticians
METEDA, through its participation in the PREVENTOMICS project, aims to develop a solution to allow professionals to define their recommendations for end users as much personalised as possible. On the other hand, the solution increases patient’s engagement as includes behavioural prompts to adopt sustainable healthy and lifestyle habits received in the patient’s smartphones.
Director of the Diabetes Deparment of San Benedetto Hospital. President of the Italian Association of Diabetologists (AMD). President of DIABETE ITALIA, Consortium of the Italian scientific diabetes societies. Director of the AMD Studies and Research Center. Coordinator of the AMD ANNALS (quality of diabetes care in Italy). Takes part in the internationals committee for the revision IDF Guidelines Quality Indicators in diabetes. METEDA Medical Consultant.
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