There are scores of health apps available on Google Play and iOS, making it easy for the people to monitor their key health paramaters and get help from doctors and nutritionists.

For the first time, here’s a nutrition app that targets vulnerable groups. Developed by researchers at ICRISAT, the app Gibsonify, can help nutrition programme planners, health professionals, nutritionists and local health and nutrition functionaries to feed data from communities get a diet plan in realtime.

Researchers point out that this will help the programme coordinators deliver quick, customised and nutrition improvement programmes for vulnerable groups.

A team of researchers from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Centre for Global Equality, and the University of Cambridge developed the solution. It will be made available soon on digital devices for free.

“This app can help plan mid-day meals effectively and customise approaches according to locally available food items in different regions of India,” Padmaja, Cluster Leader (Knowledge and Capacity Building) at the Patancheru-based ICRISAT.

“We have gathered data samples from 600 households in Telangana and Maharashtra and have access to a dietary survey conducted in Bihar,” said Kavitha Kasala, Associate Manager at the institute.

Two more phases

The next phase will be feeding the data on ‘Gibsonify’ to enable effective processing and management of the data with a real-time report card.

The third stage will look at local-level functionaries’ training and capacity building on how to use the app and the information generated.

How it works

‘Gibsonify’ provides a user-friendly interface to collect information about local recipes and nutrient intake, replicating the tested 24-hour dietary recall methodology developed by Gibson and Ferguson 14 years ago.

“The Gibson method relies on a tested process to enhance the accuracy of the information captured. Every detail collected during the dietary survey is uploaded on the app directly for betterment of nutrition intake,” Padmaja said.

The app can benefit Anganwadi (childcare centers) and Accredited Social Health Activist (Asha) workers in conducting nutrition programmes for pregnant and lactating women and children dependent on breastfeeding up to the age of two years.

“Using ‘Gibsonify’, they can guide women on improving their nutrition intake, incorporating local foods and other recommendations without delay,” she said.