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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Utility of eButton images for identifying food preparation behaviors and meal-related tasks in adolescents

Author
item RABER, MARGARET - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item PATTERSON, MONIKA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item JIA, WENYAN - University Of Pittsburgh
item SUN, MINGUI - University Of Pittsburgh
item BARANOWSKI, TOM - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Nutrition Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2018
Publication Date: 2/24/2018
Citation: Raber, M., Patterson, M., Jia, W., Sun, M., Baranowski, T. 2018. Utility of eButton images for identifying food preparation behaviors and meal-related tasks in adolescents. Nutrition Journal. 17:32. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-018-0341-2.

Interpretive Summary: While healthy food preparation is a necessary component to healthy eating, the measures of food preparation practices are weak (depending on self reports) to nonexistent. Observation provides an objective indicator of food preparation, but having professionals following people to observe their food preparation practices would be prohibitively expensive, and likely induce reactive error (i.e. people doing things they wouldn't ordinarily do because a stranger was present). Taking all day images of what a person does provides a possible alternative. This study assesses how well all day images (taken at 4 sec intervals throughout the day) using the eButton (a samll camera worn on the chest of the participant) could be used to assess children's food preparation practices. All day images from 31 children were analyzed. The most common activity was browsing in the pantry or fridge. Few participants demonstrated any food preparation work beyond unwrapping of food packages and combing two or more ingredients; actual cutting or measuring of foods were rare. All day image taking appears to provide an important feasible method for studying child food preparation practices.

Technical Abstract: Food preparation skills may encourage healthy eating. Traditional assessment of child food preparation employs self- or parent proxy-reporting methods, which are prone to error. The eButton is a wearable all-day camera that has promise as an objective, passive method for measuring child food preparation practices. This paper explores the feasibility of the eButton to reliably capture home food preparation behaviors and practices in a sample of pre- and early adolescents (ages 9 to 13). This is a secondary analysis of two eButton pilot projects evaluating the dietary intake of pre- and early adolescents in or around Houston, Texas. Food preparation behaviors were coded into seven major categories including: browsing, altering food/adding seasoning, food media, meal related tasks, prep work, cooking and observing. Inter-coder reliability was measured using Cohen's kappa and percent agreement. Analysis was completed on data for 31 participants. The most common activity was browsing in the pantry or fridge. Few participants demonstrated any food preparation work beyond unwrapping of food packages and combining two or more ingredients; actual cutting or measuring of foods were rare. Although previous research suggests children who "help" prepare meals may obtain some dietary benefit, accurate assessment tools of food preparation behavior are lacking. The eButton offers a feasible approach to food preparation behavior measurement among pre- and early adolescents. Follow up research exploring the validity of this method in a larger sample, and comparisons between cooking behavior and dietary intake are needed.