Dietary intake, eating behaviors, and context are important in chronic disease development, yet our ability to accurately assess these in research settings can be limited by biased traditional self-reporting tools. Objective measurement tools, specifically, wearable sensors, present the opportunity to minimize the major limitations of self-reported eating measures by generating supplementary sensor data that can improve the validity of self-report data in naturalistic settings. This scoping review summarizes the current use of wearable devices/sensors that automatically detect eating-related activity in naturalistic research settings. Five databases were searched in December 2019, and 618 records were retrieved from the literature search. This scoping review included N = 40 studies (from 33 articles) that reported on one or more wearable sensors used to automatically detect eating activity in the field. The majority of studies (N = 26, 65%) used multi-sensor systems (incorporating > 1 wearable sensors), and accelerometers were the most commonly utilized sensor (N = 25, 62.5%). All studies (N = 40, 100.0%) used either self-report or objective ground-truth methods to validate the inferred eating activity detected by the sensor(s). The most frequently reported evaluation metrics were Accuracy (N = 12) and F1-score (N = 10). This scoping review highlights the current state of wearable sensors’ ability to improve upon traditional eating assessment methods by passively detecting eating activity in naturalistic settings, over long periods of time, and with minimal user interaction. A key challenge in this field, wide variation in eating outcome measures and evaluation metrics, demonstrates the need for the development of a standardized form of comparability among sensors/multi-sensor systems and multidisciplinary collaboration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Computer Science Applications
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management