Portion Size Estimation

Malnutrition is a widespread problem in hospitals, especially amongst people aged 65 and above. One contributing factor is a lack of accuracy when monitoring how much patients are eating and the nutritional value of the food they consume. Methods that involve estimations by a dietician do not provide enough information, and mean that small deficits in diet are missed. These can build up and affect patients’ health.

For the MappMal project, we designed an interactive application that would provide accurate information about the nutritional intake of hospital patients. The application contains the range of meals offered by the hospital, along with information about the nutritional value of a full-sized portion. At each mealtime, a member of hospital staff assesses how much food the patient has eaten and rubs away the amount from an image of the meal that the application presents on a tablet computer. The application can then calculate the nutritional intake for that meal, track the patient’s progress against nutritional targets, and alert staff members if there are any problems that need addressing.

Part of the MappMal:Multidisciplinary Approaches to Prevention of Malnutrition project.

Press release: Tackling malnutrition in older patients on the ward