The UON team, led by Dr Megan Rollo, is in the process of developing an app to assess the food and nutrient intake of people living in low and lower-middle income countries to help create more targeted interventions.
Once developed, the system would first be tested in Cambodia and Tanzania, and have a focus on women of a reproductive age and children up to the age of five.
Dr Rollo said malnutrition affected almost half of the world’s population, and could have a severe impact on children’s development.
It could lead to stunted growth, cognitive deficits and an increased risk of cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
The system would consist of a smartphone app and wearable sensors that could capture information from the surroundings.
“The rationale behind developing the smartphone app is around making the collection of dietary intake data more efficient in these settings,” Dr Rollo said.
“Traditional approaches are quite resource-intensive in that they require people to go in and observe, and there’s costs and time associated with it.
“The app will guide people through all the steps, including collecting information on how the food was cooked… That essentially provides better information about the adequacy of diet, and can better target interventions.”