Publication Type

Conference Proceeding Article

Version

Preprint

Publication Date

1-2016

Abstract

To support people trying to lose weight and stay healthy, more and more fitness apps have sprung up including the ability to track both calories intake and expenditure. Users of such apps are part of a wider “quantified self“ movement and many opt-in to publicly share their logged data. In this paper, we use public food diaries of more than 4,000 long-term active MyFitnessPal users to study the characteristics of a (un-)successful diet. Concretely, we train a machine learning model to predict repeatedly being over or under self-set daily calories goals and then look at which features contribute to the model’s prediction. Our findings include both expected results, such as the token “mcdonalds” or the category “dessert” being indicative for being over the calories goal, but also less obvious ones such as the di erence between pork and poultry concerning dieting success, or the use of the “quick added calories” functionality being indicative of over-shooting calorie-wise. This study also hints at the feasibility of using such data for more in-depth data mining, e.g., looking at the interaction between consumed foods such as mixing protein- and carbohydrate-rich foods. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic study of public food diaries.

Keywords

Calorie counting, MyFitnessPal, Quantified self, Weight loss

Discipline

Dynamic Systems | Health Information Technology | Software Engineering

Research Areas

Data Management and Analytics

Publication

Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing 2016: Kohala Coast, Hawaii, 4-8 January: Proceedings

First Page

540

Last Page

551

ISBN

9789814749411

Publisher

World Scientific

City or Country

Singapore

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://worldcat.org/isbn/9789814749411

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