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Front. Comput. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2019.00001

An augmented reality app to learn to interpret the nutritional information on labels of real packaged foods

  • 1Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain

Healthy eating habits involve controlling your diet. It is important to know how to interpret the nutritional information of the packaged foods that you consume. These packaged foods are usually processed and contain carbohydrates and fats. Monitoring carbohydrates intake is particularly important for weight-loss diets and for some pathologies such as diabetes. In this paper, we present an augmented reality app for helping interpret the nutritional information about carbohydrates in real packaged foods with the shape of boxes or cans. The app tracks the full object and guides the user in finding the surface or area of the real package where the information about carbohydrates is located using augmented reality and helps the user to interpret this information. The portions of carbohydrates (also called carb choices or carb servings) that correspond to the visualized food are shown. We carried out a study to check the effectiveness of our app regarding learning outcomes, usability, and perceived satisfaction. A total of 40 people participated in the study (20 men and 20 women). The participants were between 14 and 55 years old. The results reported that their initial knowledge about carb choices was very low. This indicates that education about nutritional information in packaged foods is needed. An analysis of the pre-knowledge and post-knowledge questionnaires showed that the users had a statistically significant increase in knowledge about carb choices using our app. Gender and age did not influence the knowledge acquired. The participants were highly satisfied with our app. In conclusion, our app and similar apps could be used to effectively learn how to interpret the nutritional information on the labels of real packaged foods and thus help users acquire healthy life habits.

Keywords: augmented reality, Education, Mobile Devices, nutrition, Digital Health, carb choices, Healthy life habits

Received: 23 Jul 2018; Accepted: 16 May 2019.

Edited by:

Md. Atiqur Rahman Ahad, Senior Member IEEE, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Reviewed by:

Belayat Hossain, University of Hyogo, Japan
Saadia B. Alam, University of Hyogo, Japan  

Copyright: © 2019 Juan, Charco, García-García and Mollá. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. M.-Carmen Juan, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain, mcarmen@dsic.upv.es