The Correlation Between Eating Disorder Treatment and Dietary Regulation Through Diet Tracking Apps in College Students and Women
Diet tracking applications are designed partly to aid in eating disorder recovery; however, they often exacerbate the problem. The purpose of this project is to investigate the effectiveness and outcomes of diet tracking app use. Articles used in this project were chosen based on participants' gender and age, investigations of recovering patients/those at risk, and ones conducted by eating disorder treatment facilities, physicians, or dietitians. Key words to search for articles were eating disorders, disordered eating, diet tracking, diet tracking techniques, calorie counting, self-monitoring, and MyFitnessPal. Participants in reviewed studies included college students, young women, recovering eating disorder patients, and individuals considered at risk for developing disordered eating habits. One key finding is 73% of My Fitness Pal users reported that tracking somewhat contributed to their eating disorder and 30% reported significant contribution. Another finding was that those using diet tracking apps for weight control purposes were more likely to report apps as contributing to several eating disorder symptoms than those tracking for health and disease prevention. An inquiry into diet tracking app usage may provide more information surrounding factors impacting eating disorder symptoms in men. Recommendations are that practitioners should stop recommending the usage of diet tracking apps and should use caution when adding recovery-specific apps to a patients' care plan.