Although digital tools for healthy nutrition have shown great potential, their actual impact remains variable, because digital solutions often do not fit users’ needs and barriers. This is especially poignant for priority communities in society. Involving these groups in Citizen Science may have great benefits, even beyond the increase of knowledge about the lives and experiences of these groups. However, this requires specialised skills. Participants from priority groups could benefit from an approach that offers sensitization, gentle and safe provocation, and discussion, to help them voice their needs regarding
(digital technology for) healthy nutrition.
The study, now published in JMIR Human Factors, aims to gather insights on people’s thoughts on (applying technological innovations for) everyday eating practices, in self-regulation (for instance of snacking), and skill acquisition. Participants answered three daily questionnaires, to garner their current practices regarding habits, self-regulation, skills, and technology use surrounding healthy eating, and to make it easier for them to collect their thoughts and experiences (sensitisation). Within a week after filling out the three questionnaires, participants took part in an online focus group discussion session. Part of this discussion was a brief ‘provotyping’ exercise in which participants were presented with digital solutions for measuring health determinants. All sessions were transcribed and analysed using a thematic qualitative approach.
42 people took part in 7 focus group interviews of six people each. The analysis showed that participants would like to receive support from technology for a broad range of aspects of nutrition, such as in measuring the effect their personal nutrition has on their individual health; providing them with reliable product information; giving them practical guidance for healthy eating and snacking; and reducing the burden of registering food intake. Technology should be easy to use, reduce burdens, and
be tailored to personal situations. Privacy and cost are major concerns to the participants. The present study shows that people from low and medium-socioeconomic status groups have a need for specific
support in tailoring their knowledge of healthy nutrition to their own situation, and see technology as a means to achieve this
Please cite as:
Hermsen S, van Kraaij A, Camps G. Low- and Medium Socio-economic Status Group Members’ perceived challenges and solutions for (technology for) healthy nutrition: A qualitative focus group study. JMIR Human Factors. 06/10/2022:40123 (forthcoming/in press)