Dr Aiden Doherty, a HRB-funded Marie Curie Post-doctoral Research Fellow at CLARITY: Centre for Sensor Web Technologies, Dublin City University, has guest edited a special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine which examines the use of wearable cameras.
‘Wearable cameras and their associated software analysis tools have developed to the point that they now appear well suited to measure sedentary behaviour, active travel, and nutrition-related behaviours,’ says Aiden. ‘They can also be used to prompt recall and assist immediate cognitive function as individuals may recall events more accurately after reviewing images from their wearable cameras.
’For example in one study at DCU, we used Microsoft’s wearable camera, SenseCam, to assess individual dietary intake in both the general and sporting population.
Gillian O’Loughlin, BSc, and lead author on the paper (which was funded by the Turf Club) takes up the story.
‘Food diaries are the traditional method of assessing energy intake. However, they can be unreliable because they rely on meticulous logging by the individual and there is a tendency for people to under-estimate their true calorie intake. Also subjects may report what they perceive to be a more healthy food intake in an attempt to impress others or avoid criticism. Under reporting seems to be most prevalent among individuals who are overweight or trying to control their weight.
In our study, 47 volunteers consisting of 17 trainee jockeys, 15 elite collegiate Gaelic football players, and 15 physically active students wore a SenseCam and kept a food diary. The footage was reviewed in the presence of the participant and additional information about forgotten foods, leftovers, portion size and specific brands could be collected. By comparing the food diary information alone, against the food diary and images from the SenseCam, we found a significant underreporting of calorie intake ranging from 10% in the trainee jockeys and students, to 18% in the Gaelic footballers.
Our findings indicate that using a wearable camera in conjunction with a food diary provides a more accurate estimate of total energy intake. Adding wearable cameras to dietary analysis provides a valuable tool, not only for athletes and sport populations who closely monitor calorie intake, but may also present dieticians and health providers with the ability to better assess and treat those in need of dietary management.'
Chief Executive of the Health Research Board noted,
‘One of the specific aims of The Marie Curie Research Fellowships was to increase the competitiveness of the Irish research community with the ultimate goal being able to contribute to health research at a global level. That Aiden was recognised as a thought leader in this field and invited to be the guest editor of this special issue is a testament to the quality of his research and the success of the HRB Fellowship programme.’
Other research featured in the special issue includes using smartphones as wearable cameras; and an evaluation of the ethical considerations around privacy, such as unflattering or unwanted photos along with interactions with third parties who may feel their privacy has been compromised.
The American Journal of Preventative Medicine’s Press release is available here.