University of Twente Student Theses


Supporting healthy eating through technology (supporting those with eating disorders in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic)

Clemens Villa, P. (2020) Supporting healthy eating through technology (supporting those with eating disorders in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic).

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Abstract:Eating disorders are very dangerous illnesses that negatively affect all sorts of life aspects. Still, the vast majority of eating disorder sufferers does not receive any treatment at all. While day to day tasks could already be a struggle for this group of people, the problems experienced have only gotten more and worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to reach a struggling underserved population, smartphone applications, partly due to their accessibility, are considered to have the potential for providing support or help. This research aims to firstly explore this target group and analyse the problems experienced (in normal times and times of the current pandemic), by using not just existing literature, but mainly forums, blog posts, and YouTube videos from members of this target group themselves. Besides, a state of the art research was held on the underserved population, smartphone applications in eating disorder treatment, and other self-help tools. Next, the research focuses on designing a smartphone application to support eating disorder sufferers through times of COVID-19. Using the previously obtained knowledge and with a focus on empathy in design, through ideation, specification, and realisation phases, a prototype of an application was created that aims to help to calm down, to uplift and motivate, to inform, to communicate and reach out, and to separate the individual from their eating disorder voice. Lastly, this prototype was evaluated. This was done by non-target group participants and two eating disorder experts. It was well received by the non-target group participants, where the focus of the corresponding test mainly lied on usability. The experts did believe the prototype to be valuable and promising, but also gave enough suggestions and comments on what could and sometimes needed to be worked on for it to be (more) beneficial to potential users.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Creative Technology BSc (50447)
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