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        Adolescents' preferences in developing a UK online dietary assessment tool (myfood24): focus group study
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        Adolescents' preferences in developing a UK online dietary assessment tool (myfood24): focus group study
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Measuring adolescents' dietary intake is challenging and prone to reporting error. Adolescents are less interested, less motivated and less cooperative than those in other age groups, and they find recording their dietary intake irritating and tedious( 1 , 2 ). However, adolescents are the most eager in terms of adopting new technology( 3 ). Therefore, novel approaches using new technology may keep adolescents more engaged and would greatly improve the accuracy of dietary records. Limited research has been carried out to understand adolescents' needs and desires in relation to dietary assessment websites. This study aims to identify adolescents' preferences and ideas relating to the interface design of myfood24, and to determine adolescents' desired elements of different aspects of the online dietary assessments tool, such as food searching and food portion size.

In order to explore adolescents' preference in myfood24, four focus-groups were conducted among 11 to 18 year old adolescents (n 29). Each focus group contained 6 to 8 adolescents (boys and girls) in a school setting and lasted 75 minutes. To maximize the study's validity a self-reported preference questionnaire, using a 5-point likert scale and open questions, was also completed by each individual involved in the focus-group. This was in order to prove statements made in each group and to allow for individual responses. The analysis of all focus-group transcripts followed the Krueger and Casey's( 4 ) method. Table 1 presents a list of key-points that emerged from the discussions. When using a gender scheme to investigate website preferences, girls were more interested in the website's visual appeal than boys. Some girls said they would prefer it if there was a statement to confirm that they will not be judged by their eating habits. In conclusion, considering adolescents' desires is essential to enhance myfood24 users' satisfaction as well as the accuracy of adolescents' dietary records.

Table 1 Adolescents' preferences in developing a UK online dietary assessment tool (myfood24)

1. Livingstone, MBE, Robson, PJ & Wallace, JMW (2004) BJN. 92, S213.
2. Goodwin, RA, BrulÉ, D, Junkins, EA et al. (2001) JADA. 101, 926928.
3. Boushey, C, Kerr, D, Wright, J et al. (2009) EJCN. 63, S50S57.
4. Krueger, RA & Casey, MA (2009). Pine Forge Press.