Information Literacy in Food and Activity Tracking Among Parkrunners, People With Type 2 Diabetes, and People With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Exploratory Study

McKinney P#1, Cox AM#1, Sbaffi L#1. J Med Internet Res. 2019 Aug 1;21(8):e13652. doi: 10.2196/13652.


Author information

1 Information School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

# Contributed equally


BACKGROUND: The tracking, or logging, of food intake and physical activity is increasing among people, and as a result there is increasing evidence of a link to improvement in health and well-being. Crucial to the effective and safe use of logging is a user's information literacy.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to analyze food and activity tracking from an information literacy perspective.

METHODS: An online survey was distributed to three communities via parkrun, diabetes.co.uk and the Irritable Bowel SyndromeNetwork.

RESULTS: The data showed that there were clear differences in the logging practices of the members of the three different communities, as well as differences in motivations for tracking and the extent of sharing of said tracked data. Respondents showed a good understanding of the importance of information accuracy and were confident in their ability to understand tracked data, however, there were differences in the extent to which food and activity data were shared and also a lack of understanding of the potential reuse and sharing of data by third parties.

CONCLUSIONS: Information literacy in this context involves developing awareness of the issues of accurate information recording, and how tracked information can be applied to support specific health goals. Developing awareness of how and when to share data, as well as of data ownership and privacy, are also important aspects of information literacy

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