‘Missing events’ in a mobile event-based dietary assessment


  • K. Ziesemer
  • L. König
  • K. Villinger
  • D.R. Wahl
  • H. Schupp
  • B. Renner


Background: Mobile applications are becoming increasingly popular to assess eating behavior because they allow to record food intake within the eating situation. Compared to common questionnaire-based measures, data quality depends less on the remembered dietary intake but it requires frequent and extensive reporting in the daily routine. In two studies, both the frequency of recorded meals and snacks as well as the frequency and reasons of meals and snacks that were not reported (‘missing events’) were examined. Methods: In Study 1, 38 participants (74% women) and, in Study 2, 35 participants (89% women) recorded their meals and snacks with an ecological momentary assessment over a period of eight days. Afterwards, frequency of and reasons for ‘missing events’ were assessed in semi-structured interviews. Findings: On average, participants recorded 27.5 (SD = 10.7, Study 1) and 26.7 (SD = 7.5, Study 2) meals and snacks. Participants reported 3.8 (SD = 3.6) missed meals and 3.2 (SD = 2.7) missed snacks. Reasons for ‘missing events’ are attributed to three areas: 1) technical reasons and usability (‘low battery’, ‘effortful recording’), 2) mindless eating (‘being distracted’) and 3) situation-based (‘eating on the way’, ‘eating with others’). Discussion: ‘Missing events’ may reduce data quality in mobile dietary assessments. Therefore, the reasons leading to ‘missing events’ such as technical reasons and usability or mindless eating should be considered when developing mobile assessment tools, e.g. by including reminders or simplifying the recording process.





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