Innovative techniques for evaluating behavioral nutrition interventions

Rachel E. Scherr, Kevin D. Laugero, Dan J. Graham, Brian T. Cunningham, Lisa Jahns, Karina R. Lora, Marla Reicks, Amy R. Mobley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Assessing outcomes and the impact from behavioral nutrition interventions has remained challenging because of the lack of methods available beyond traditional nutrition assessment tools and techniques. With the current high global obesity and related chronic disease rates, novel methods to evaluate the impact of behavioral nutrition-based interventions are much needed. The objective of this narrative review is to describe and review the current status of knowledge as it relates to 4 different innovative methods or tools to assess behavioral nutrition interventions. Methods reviewed include 1) the assessment of stress and stress responsiveness to enhance the evaluation of nutrition interventions, 2) eye-tracking technology in nutritional interventions, 3) smartphone biosensors to assess nutrition and health-related outcomes, and 4) skin carotenoid measurements to assess fruit and vegetable intake. Specifically, the novel use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, by characterizing the brain's responsiveness to an intervention, can help researchers develop programs with greater efficacy. Similarly, if eye-tracking technology can enable researchers to get a better sense as to how participants view materials, the materials may be better tailored to create an optimal impact. The latter 2 techniques reviewed, smartphone biosensors and methods to detect skin carotenoids, can provide the research community with portable, effective, nonbiased ways to assess dietary intake and quality and more in the field. The information gained from using these types of methodologies can improve the efficacy and assessment of behavior-based nutrition interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-125
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.


  • Biosensors
  • Brain responsiveness
  • Community nutrition interventions
  • Eye-tracking
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Program evaluation
  • Public health
  • Reflective spectroscopy
  • Resonance Raman spectroscopy
  • Smartphone


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