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Validation Information: MyFitnessPal

Teixeira 2018

The relative validity of a food record using the smartphone application MyFitnessPal

Aim: The present study aimed to validate food records on the application MyFitnessPal (MFP), comparing them with paper-based food records (P-FR).

Methods: Thirty university students, including males and females, volunteered and recorded dietary intakes on P-FR and MFP food records (MFP-FR). The values of energy, macronutrients and fibre from MFP-FR were compared with data from P-FR, calculated using Brazilian food composition tables. Adjustments for in-person variability and energy intake were performed, and comparisons were made between each data set, using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Spearman's correlation and Bland-Altman agreement plots.

Results: Positive moderate correlations between P-FR and MFP-FR for all variables, and non-significant associations for energy and fibre were found. The Bland-Altman plots showed tendency to underestimation and relatively narrow limits of agreement. Carbohydrate and lipids show trends of increasing the degree of overestimation with increased intake, even after data normalisation.

Conclusions: MFP tends to underestimate ingestion of nutrients probably due to inadequacies in the MFP database. However, MFP showed good relative validity, especially for energy and fibre. Its use, as well as other similar applications, should be encouraged, due to ease of assessing dietary information, although careful usage is recommended because of database gaps.

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Validation Information

Year of Publication

Tool Information

Dietary Exposure Measured
Energy, Macronutrient
Tool Type
Food Diary Estimated
Timeframe Tool Measures info
1 Day
Portion Size Measures info
Portion size was shown by food photographs.
Reporting Method info
Retrospective; Prospective
Format info
Supplements Measured
Not Reported
Administration Method info

Study Information

Study Location
Sergipe, Brazil
Associated Nutrient Database
MFP database
Comparator Validated Against
Food Diary Estimated


Sample Size
30 (Adults)
Age of Population

Range: 18-30 years

Other Notable Characteristics
The participants were university students

Total number of nutrients validated: 4 info

Not all of the nutrients validated in the validation studies are included in the table below, as statistical data was only selected to be displayed for a number of nutrients, this included:

  • Energy
  • Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Mono-unsaturated Fat
  • Poly-unsaturated Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Sugar
  • Non‐starch polysaccharides(NSP)
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Retinol
  • Folate
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Fruit & Vegetables
  • Urinary Nitrogen

To find information on the other validated nutrients please read the validation study.

  • Energy
  • Macronutrients: 4
  • Micronutrients: 0
Comparator Lifestage Sex Nutrient Measured info Mean Difference Standard Deviation info Correlation Coefficient info Cohen's Kappa Coefficient Percentage Agreement Percentage Agreement Categories info Lower Limits of Agreement Upper Limits of Agreement
Paper Food Record Adults Both Energy (kJ) -56 1388 0.67 (S) -2832 2720
Protein (g) -10 20 0.53 (S) -50 30
Fat (g) -10 11 0.59 (S) -32 12
Carbohydrates (g) -25 56 0.58 (S) -137 87
Fiber (g) 0.3 10 0.58 (S) -19.7 20.3

Some results have been calculated using statistical techniques based on the published data.

For further information on statistical terms click on Statistical tests used in validation studies

All correlations coefficients in the table are unadjusted unless stated otherwise. For adjusted correlation coefficients and other statistical methods used in the study e.g. paired t-tests, please read the validation articles.

  • # Adjusted
  • † Energy adjusted.
  • ‡ For loge-transformed, energy-adjusted nutrient intakes.
  • ^ Adjacent included.
  • ᵟ Participants provided identical responses.
  • (w) = Weighted.

Teixeira V, Voci SM, Mendes-Netto RS, da Silva DG. The relative validity of a food record using the smartphone application MyFitnessPal. Nutrition & Dietetics. 2018;75(2):219-25.