Smartphone technology facilitates dietary change in healthy adults

Michelle L. Ipjian, Carol Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objectives Many individuals are advised to adhere to specific diet plans for their personal health; hence, it is important that tools are available to support these behaviors. Smartphone applications (apps) may assist health care professionals in educating their clients on specific dietary modifications. This pilot study focused on a single dietary modification, reducing sodium intake, to determine whether a commercial health app is useful for promoting dietary change. Methods Thirty healthy adults (age 34.4 ± 15.7 y; body mass index 25.6 ± 4.3 kg/m2) were recruited from a university community and completed this 4-wk randomized parallel trial. Participants were instructed to reduce their sodium intake to ≤2300 mg/d by using the MyFitnessPal app to receive feedback on sodium content of foods or by paper tallying of estimated sodium intake. The predicted 24-h sodium excretion, estimated using the ratio of sodium to creatinine from the first morning urine void, and participant satisfaction were the main outcomes measured. Results The change in the predicted 24-h sodium excretion differed between groups: −838 ± 1093 and +236 ± 1333 mg/24 h predicted for the app and journal groups, respectively (P = 0.010). Moreover, participants in the app group reported significantly greater satisfaction with their method of diet tracking than the journal group (P = 0.001). Conclusions These data suggest that smartphone apps have the potential to facilitate the implementation of dietary advice. This was a small pilot study with limited scope, and more research is necessary to determine the value of smartphone apps for facilitating dietary change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-347
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Behavior change
  • Diet advice
  • Smartphone application
  • Sodium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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