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Week 10 (July 22 - 28)

Met with Dr. Sabry, Professor of Public Health Nutrition at UC Berkeley
Wrote summary of Dr. Sabry's suggestions, summarized below.
Worked out payment details for pilot participant
Organized and made accessible all data and correspondences for other team members.

The meeting with Dr. Sabry really made us rethink the design and output of our device. Dr. Sabry informed us that the utilization of nutrients is far removd from grocery purchases. The body's utilization of nutrients depends on many factors such as the person's age, the food source, and cooking method. Due to the complcated nature of nutrient utilization and nutrient need (i.e. older adults don't need as much iron as younger adults), Dr. Sabry offered the suggestion of staying away from a nutrient recommendation system and looking into either 1) a system which give recommendations on proportions of food groups consumed, based on a model like the food pyramid, or 2)a system that investigates food purchase vs actualconsumption. He stated that both systems may be of interest to the USDA, which is also a possible source of grants.

We will definitely need to consider Dr. Sabry's recommendations. (It is trued that we as a research team do not know much about nutrient need and utilization). The advantage of Dr. Sabry's suggestion that we focus of food proportions is that there has been extensive research by organizations such as the USDA of food proportions, and such a device could received support from the USDA. The disadvantage is that there is much debate and politics over the validity of the food pyramid (i.e. how much carbohydrates should we really consume, does the food pyramid take into account calorie amounts).

The suggestion that we could focus on food purchases vs actual consumption could be important to validate our assumption that food purchases is closely associated with actual consumption. It could also be used in studies of food trends and food marketing. The disadvantage is it strays away from the goal of a recommender system.

Perhaps we can focus on a device that gives recommendations based on fat amounts purchased, in light of the obsesity problem in the country. Another possibility is a device that gives recommendations based on fat amounts purchased in addition to recommendations of food proportions.

Dr. Sabry also made some other very good suggestions: 1) we should get initial inventories of food pantries, since this food could be consumed during our study, 2) we also should investigate the source of our food tally. Dr. Sabry informed us that food consumption tallies are designed with different goals, and we should know the goal of the model we are using. 3) Dr. Sabry gave us the names of UCB professors who could give us advice on food tallies and agriculture-economics research (Dr. Gladys Block and Dr. Jeff LaFrance).

I spent a lot of the week making the data and correspondences accessible to Jen and the rest of the team. Even though I will continue with the research group in the fall, I had to make sure all the correspondences and data was easilty accessible. This involved a lot of organizing and transferring files from my account to the nutrition HD.

I also had to make sure all the payment details for our pilot participant were taken care of before I left so that our participant would be paid in a prompt manner. This involved getting the participants social security number, confirmation of participation (consent form), and address to the appropriate finance office.

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