Human Environments Avalysis Laboratory

Smart APPetite

Supporting Local Food Economies & Improving Healthy Food Access within Southwestern Ontario through the Use of a Smartphone ‘APP’ & Interactive Website

SmartAPPetite is a community-based project looking to investigate how a smartphone application can benefit healthy lifestyles. This app has been created to help address the increase in diet related chronic disease conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. The current study using SmartAPPetite is focused on high school youth, as this is an important age-group in targeting dietary behaviours that can persist into adulthood. The app provides teens with dietitian approved information on how to make healthy choices related to food and food purchasing. SmartAPPetite offers evidence-based nutrition tips, local food vendor information, and recipes through messaging chains.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of this message-based nutritional intervention program. Furthermore, the app aims to support access to healthy food, improve food literacy, and change dietary behaviours of high school students. Through this technology, we are attempting to nudge youth towards making informed dietary choices within their local food environments, as well support already existing local food networks. It is important that our innovative research be undertaken to help identify strategies for improving teens’ dietary behaviours at a population level.

The app is a collaborative effort spear headed by the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) at Western University, the London Training Centre, Brescia University College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Old East Village Business Improvement Area. The project is made possible through funding provided by Children’s Health Foundation and Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Andrew Clark