Mobile phone app for self-monitoring of eating rhythm: Field experiment

Saara Pentikäinen (Corresponding Author), Hannu Tanner, Leila Karhunen, Marjukka Kolehmainen, Kaisa Poutanen, Kyösti Pennanen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Background: Temporal aspects of eating are an integral part of healthy eating, and regular eating has been associated with good diet quality and more successful weight control. Unfortunately, irregular eating is becoming more common. Self-monitoring of behavior has been found to be an efficient behavioral change technique, but the solution should be simple enough to ensure long-lasting adherence. Objective: This study aimed to explore the influence of self-monitoring of daily eating pattern with mobile phone app on eating rhythm, eating behavior tendencies, and the underlying motives and attitudes related to eating. Methods: A mobile phone app, Button, was developed for effortless self-monitoring of eating rhythm. The feasibility of the app was tested in a 30-day intervention. The participants (N=74) recorded their eating occasions during the intervention by pressing a button in the app widget. Results: The average interval between meals increased (96 [SD 24] min during the first 10 days vs 109.1[SD 36.4] during the last 10 days) and the number of daily eating occasions decreased (4.9 [SD 0.9] during the first 10 days vs 4.4 [SD 0.9] during the last 10 days). The tendencies for cognitive restraint, emotional eating, and uncontrolled eating increased. Eating-related attitudes and motives remained largely unchanged. Conclusions: These results indicate that a simple self-monitoring tool is able to draw a user's attention to eating and is a potential tool to aid people to change their eating rhythm.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere11490
    Pages (from-to)e11490
    Number of pages14
    JournalJMIR Mhealth and Uhealth
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Behavior observation
    • Eating
    • Ecological momentary assessment
    • mHealth
    • Self-regulation


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