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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Tests of the accuracy and speed of categorizing foods into child vs. professional categories using two methods of browsing with children.

item Baranowski, Tom
item Beltran, Alicia
item Martin, Shelby
item Watson, Kathleen
item Islam, Noemi
item Robertson, Shay
item Berno, Stephanie
item Dadabhoy, Hafza
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Cullen, Karen
item Buday, Richard
item Subar, Amy
item Baranowski, Janice

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2009
Publication Date: 1/1/2010
Citation: Baranowski, T., Beltran, A., Martin, S., Watson, K.B., Islam, N., Robertson, S., Berno, S., Dadabhoy, H., Thompson, D.J., Cullen, K., Buday, R., Subar, A., Baranowski, J. 2010. Tests of the accuracy and speed of categorizing foods into child vs. professional categories using two methods of browsing with children. Journal of American Dietetic Association. 110:91-94.

Interpretive Summary: We are developing a computerized 24h dietary recall for self report directly by children. In the hierarchical system organizing foods to enable children to find them (often called "browse"), we tested whether child-generated categories would make it easier to find foods in the hierarchy over using usual dietitian generated categories. We also tested whether a "cool" user interface called a "cover-flow" would be more desirable for children than the usual tree structure. To our surprise, neither child nor professional generated categories nor the cover-flow versus the tree-structure enabled children to more accurately locate foods. However, the child categories with a tree structure facilitated the fastest location. As a result, the child categories with a tree structure should be used in our computerized program.

Technical Abstract: This research tested whether children could categorize foods more accurately and speedily when presented with child-generated rather than professionally-generated food categories; and whether a graphically appealing browse procedure similar to the Apple, Inc, "cover flow" graphical user interface accomplished this better than the more common tree view structure. In fall 2008, one hundred and four multi-ethnic children ages eight to 13 were recruited at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and randomly assigned to two browse procedures: cover flow (with collages of foods in a category) or tree view (food categories in a list). Within each browse condition, children categorized the same randomly ordered 26 diverse foods to both child and professionally organized categories (with method randomly sequenced per child). Dietitians determined acceptance of categorization. The computer recorded speed of categorization. Differences between methods were determined by repeated measures analysis of variance. Younger children (eight to nine years old) tended to have lower acceptance and longer speeds of categorization. The quickest categorization was obtained with child categories in a tree structure. Computerized dietary reporting by children can use child generated food categories and tree structures to organize foods for browsing in a hierarchically organized structure to enhance speed of categorization, but not accuracy. A computerized recall may not be appropriate for children nine years or younger.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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