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New AI Technology Helps Analyze Data on Food and Fluids Consumed in LTC Homes

An elaborate analysis of consumed food showed there is a need to enhance diets in long-term care (LTC) homes to make them healthier for residents.

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The analysis has discovered that consumption of plant-based proteins, more whole grains, vegetables, and plain fruits would help residents satisfy government recommendations and decrease their threat of inflammation.

At the University of Waterloo, scientists came up with a new artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze data on food and fluids consumed by over 600 residents over three days at 32 LTC homes.

The outcomes were compared to suggestions in the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide on healthy eating and expert information on foods that could result in inflammation, adding up to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and arthritis.

These food analytics can support LTC menu planning and provide data-driven insights to support nutritional interventions geared at improving clinical outcomes and quality of life.

Dr. Kaylen Pfisterer, Adjunct Assistant Engineering Professor, University of Waterloo

Also, Pfisterer is a scientific associate at the Center for Digital Therapeutics within the University Health Network.

Even though they found room for enhancement in diet quality, the scientists acknowledged numerous difficulties while altering food in LTC homes.

One is that older adult residents should enjoy the food and drinks they eat since their quality of life gets impacted.

One more is that the majority of the LTC residents are at risk of malnutrition, so just guaranteeing they receive sufficient calories can be hard. Also, budgetary constraints and the seasonal availability of some foods can come into functioning.

The newly developed AI tool automated a process that has long been a tedious manual task that is subject to bias and error.

The ability to do such massive categorization using AI in an automated fashion allowed us to get much deeper, much more comprehensive insights into the inflammatory potential of what is currently eaten in LTC.

Dr Alexander Wong, Professor of Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo

Also, a contribution to the study was given by Dr. Heather Keller, a professor of kinesiology and health studies at Waterloo, and Dr. Robert Amelard, a post-doctoral fellow at the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging and the University Health Network during the study.

Journal Reference

Pfisterer, K. J., et al. (2023) Characterizing Canadian long-term care home consumed foods and their inflammatory potential: a secondary analysis. BMC Public Health.


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