MyFitnessPal: The Datafication of Nutrition

When I was initially choosing my topic, I had it narrowed down to the datafication of nutrition. From there, I initially thought of nutritional apps, but struggled to find a clear direction from there. I had trouble deciding how specific was too specific, so I began my research and decided to let my topic emerge on its own.

For me, the argument came before the topic. As I was doing research, I tried to be open-minded to all sides of the problem at hand – people having difficulty managing their health and diet. Once I decided that I strongly felt the apps were helping people become more healthy, I gained more direction. From there, I saw that there are many different kids of nutritional apps, so it would be best to choose which one I thought was the most effective, and talk about why and how.

When I am presented with information, I like being able to visualize it clearly. Data and information alone can often feel intangible or unimaginable. For this reason, I tried to choose images that put whatever I was saying into perspective. After I was done giving the presentation, I wanted people to be able to go back, see the image, and immediately recall the main concepts I talked about during that slide.

One example is that of the image of one serving of ice cream.

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During this section, I talked about how low calorie counts and percentages on nutrition labels are often deceiving. This image clearly puts what I said into perspective because it allows the audience to relate the portion size to how much ice cream they personally eat. Without this image, they might not have realized how small 1/2 cup actually is because “1/2” can be used to describe something from as small as a cookie to as large as an entire cake.

The image of the shocked girl also puts the text into perspective.

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During this slide, I talked about the benefits of receiving instant feedback. While I spoke, I provided the audience with the proper knowledge needed to know what is going on in the image. Because the audience┬áis provided with some creative freedom, the audience can better understand why immediate feedback is helpful because they themselves make the connection between the feedback and the girl’s expression. They can imagine what she saw, what may have caused her to have that expression, and what she might be feeling.

One of my weaknesses during the in-class presentation had to do with connecting with the audience. I felt more at peace with a script at hand because I knew it helped me articulate myself greatly. Still, if I had memorized it, I may have been able to make more eye-contact and better engage my audience. I found doing so on the web easier because there was less pressure, so I could have a more conversational tone of voice. Over all, I enjoyed the experience and will use this style of presentation in the future.

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