Invented by Mary J. Kretsch, Moira A. Gunn, Alice K. Fong, US Department of Agriculture USDA

The market for methods for measuring intake of food, nutrients, and other components of the diet has been growing rapidly in recent years. With the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, there is a growing need for accurate and reliable methods for assessing dietary intake. One of the most commonly used methods for measuring dietary intake is the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). This method involves asking individuals to report their usual intake of specific foods over a certain period of time, typically the past month or year. FFQs are relatively easy to administer and can provide a good estimate of overall dietary intake, but they are subject to recall bias and may not accurately capture short-term changes in diet. Another commonly used method for measuring dietary intake is the 24-hour dietary recall. This method involves asking individuals to recall all the foods and beverages they consumed in the past 24 hours. While this method can provide a more accurate estimate of short-term dietary intake, it is also subject to recall bias and may not capture variations in intake over time. More recently, there has been growing interest in using technology-based methods for measuring dietary intake. These methods include mobile apps, wearable devices, and other digital tools that allow individuals to track their food intake in real-time. These tools can provide more accurate and detailed information about dietary intake, but they may also be more time-consuming and require a higher level of technological literacy. Overall, the market for methods for measuring dietary intake is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. As the prevalence of chronic diseases continues to rise, there will be an increasing need for accurate and reliable methods for assessing dietary intake. Technology-based methods are likely to play an increasingly important role in this market, as they offer the potential for more accurate and detailed information about dietary intake. However, traditional methods such as FFQs and 24-hour dietary recalls are also likely to remain important tools for assessing dietary intake in certain populations.

The US Department of Agriculture USDA invention works as follows

The system is an interactive computerized dietary measuring process that can be used by laypeople to accurately measure the intake of food, nutrients and other food components. The system comprises a computer coupled with an electronic scale, display device(s), input element(s) for the user and a database of food codes. The system can provide multiple options for weighing-in measurements based on different food service settings and habits. It also tags each measurement in the storage component to keep track of them. The system can inform the user of the next action to be taken and the required input, so they don’t have to remember the sequence of actions or all the different measurement actions. The system provides users with a variety of options for weighing out measurements. In this case, the computer keeps track of the record of the measurements and will remind the user what they have done and what needs to be done in order to collect accurate and complete data on dietary intake. The system can also alert the user of any weighing mistakes so that they can correct them, or to allow the user to add comments and notes about measurements.

Background for Method for measuring intake of food, nutrients and other components of the diet

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This invention is an interactive computerized process and system that can be used by laypeople to accurately measure the intake of food, nutrients, and other food components.

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The impact of daily eating habits on health is well known in the United States. Recent scientific research has produced a wealth of information about the effects that dietary habits have on health. According to The Surgeon General?s Report on Nutrition and Health, (United States Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., 1988), . . The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for conducting periodic surveys of American food consumption. The agency’s Nationwide Food Consumption Survey currently includes information about individual dietary intake. This data is used to determine the extent of inadequate or imbalanced nutritional status in the general public. “Unfortunately, the majority of methods used to assess dietary intake are not scientifically-based.

There are many methods for measuring the dietary intake of individuals or groups of people. Others are quantitative measurements of the food consumed. Some are rough estimates while others are simple rough estimates. Dietitians and trained dietary assistants are often required to supervise participants in diet studies or use precise weighing methods. Few studies and surveys that use dietary assessment techniques have accurate quantitative data due to the time and labor costs involved. Many researchers are also concerned about the time required to process manually collected data. This includes coding food records, verifying the coded data, manually entering the information into the computer, and verifying the accuracy of entered data. The data processing time is responsible for the substantial delay in reporting current food intake data. Due to the lack of accurate, current information on dietary intake, decisions about national health policies related to nutrition and food, as well as national dietary guidelines and food programs such School Lunches and Food Stamp Programs, have been hampered.

Professionals in nutrition and dietetics have used “Microcomputer Nutrient Calculation Software Programs” such as “Nutritionist II” (N-Squared Computing) and “The Food Processor” (ESHA, Salem), to calculate nutrient intake. While there has been computerization in certain aspects of food record coding and processing, as well as nutrient conversions, these software programs haven’t computerized the effort required to obtain food intake weights. These nutrient calculations programs were designed primarily to analyze recipes, diets, and meals using estimated food weights. These estimated food weights are often derived by recollecting amounts from memory or writing down the foods consumed. The limitations of this software lie in “how” the information about food intake was collected and the “amount of manual work involved in collecting and entering the intake data.

Commercial dietetic computer scales can be purchased by anyone interested in nutrition and food. These units, such as the Sentron Health Scale”, Sunbeam NutriScale II”, and the Polder Dietetic Computer Scale”, are available on the U.S. open market. They can be used for dietetic or weight loss control. These domestic kitchen nutrient computer scales have several limitations: They are only designed for a single user and are only able to monitor a specific nutrient. Also, these scales are restricted to a list of predetermined foods and a small number of nutrients. Their memory capacity is also limited and does not allow them to retain data for long periods. These calculators are designed to calculate limited nutrients from a small number of foods.

On the more advanced end of the spectrum, the Food Recording Electric Device (FRED) (L. Stockley, et. al., Human Nutrition, Applied Nutrition, 40A:13-18, 1986), uses computer technology to collect dietary data in the home. FRED consists a pair electronic scales that are interfaced with a microprocessor controller unit equipped with an RS232 communication port. The control unit’s surface is composed of a bank of six sequence keys (e.g. The surface of the control unit consists of an upper bank of six sequence control keys (e.g. The sequence lights are used as prompts to indicate the next color key in the sequence.

The major disadvantage of FRED is its lack of an intelligent interface. FRED’s software and hardware limitations prevent it from giving the user prompts or directives to weigh and record food intake, and also from allowing the user to provide alpha-numeric responses and descriptive information. FRED relies on a human operator’s ability to remember and understand the messages that are embedded in the color sequence. It also relies upon the operator’s intelligence and memory to match the human actions with the light prompts. Data accuracy and reliability is questionable because the user controls FRED’s actions rather than FRED controlling user actions.

The FRED system has other disadvantages: Each unit was designed to be used by a single person, rather than multiple users; It does not allow for flexibility in eating habits, as it only allows for one food weighing method; It does not track the containers that are used to weigh the food, increasing the risk of weight errors. FRED does not have the ability to calculate individual nutrient intake. FRED was to be expanded to 104 “food groups” to include carbohydrate, starch and sugars in the analysis of nutrients. However, no new literature or upgraded FRED models have been announced.

The Nutrition Evaluation Scale System was developed as a way to overcome the limitations of the current dietary assessment method. It is designed to provide the most accurate, up-to date information on food, nutrients, and dietary components.

This invention is applicable to the fields of nutrition and dietetics, as well as other related fields that use dietary or nutritional status assessment methodologies, e.g., Agricultural Economics and Public Health, Medicine and Dentistry, Epidemiology and Anthropology, Exercise Physiology and Individual Health Care. The individual health applications include dietary monitoring, nutrition education, and weight loss for diabetes, heart disease or hypertension.

The logical extension of computer revolution is the use of computer to intelligently, interactively, collect, process and summarize dietary data in the home. NESSY, the all-encompassing system designed to accomplish such tasks.

The present invention discloses an innovative system and process that can be used to accurately, quickly and easily determine the food, nutrients, and food components intake by individuals. NESSY is an acronym that stands for Nutrition Evaluation Scale System. It is a computerized system and process that can be used to input, store, calculate, output, and transfer data about food intake. The invention allows accurate food intake data to be generated electronically through:

The electronic balance can accurately and automatically record the weight of food and containers, without any error.

(b), signaling weighing error and enabling correction actions,

(c), enabling a range of ways to weigh in foods, including food with containers, drinks in bottles, cartons, or cups, pre-packaged food, foods without containers, multiple foods on a single dish, drinks with solid food or ice, foods from a list of foods, and second servings of food,

(d) tracking the food that is eaten,

(e) tracking the containers in use,

(f), enabling a range of ways to weigh out foods, including the treatment of combined leftovers and spills,

(g), enabling automatic recording of food and containers weights without error for food mixtures or components of mixtures,

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