Mobile Food Recon

The Department of Defense is challenged with the increasing obesity in our young population to the point that many more military recruits are rejected for being overweight than in the past. Maintaining a fit force given the demographic changes has been an increasing burden. The Mobile Food-Recon project is to develop a mobile phone application that allows for both voice and menu-based input of food consumption that can provide instant feedback on calories & while recommending minor changes to reduce over-nutrition.

Unlike previous calorie counter attempts on web pages or other methods that are laborious, Food-Recon will use natural language recognition and reasonable approximations of quantity to make practical counts rather than exacting numbers. For example, a user can specify “Quarter pound hamburger with cheese, Medium Fries, Large Spwite” For example, Mobile Food-Recon will know many common foods “quarter pounder” or “whomper junior” and interpret “medium fries” as a 9 oz portion, and “large spwrite” as 32 oz. The decision support part of the application might recommend unsweetened ice tea or a 12 oz soda and show the meal calorie difference. The same application could also specify carbohydrate counts for diabetics as well.

Providing for common fast food establishments that are frequented by service members during lunch makes this germane to the military population. It is hoped that an application that is so simple and quick to use may find considerable use and reduce daily intake by hundreds of calories. These saved calories add up over time and lead to lower body weight. The approach of offering minor adjustments versus whole sale diet changes makes lowering calorie intake more acceptable and trains patients to make reasonable substitutions.

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