Smartphone applications and websites on infant feeding: A systematic analysis of quality, suitability and comprehensibility.

Author: 
Sarah Taki, Rosalind Elliott, Georgina Russell, Rachel Laws, Karen Campbell, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Program: 
Stream 1 Families with young children
Year: 
2014

Presented at ANZOS Annual Scientific Meeting, 16 - 18 October 2014

The poster is available here.

Abstract

The prevalence of childhood obesity increased over the past three decades. Infant feeding practices have been shown to contribute to unhealthy weight gain in infants. Parents now use the internet and smartphone applications (apps) to guide them with infant feeding. Given the diversity of websites and apps on infant feeding it is important that the quality of information contained within them is assessed. This systematic analysis provides perspectives on infant feeding websites and apps originating in Australia. We conducted a systematic analysis to assess the quality, comprehensibility and suitability of smartphone apps and websites on infant feeding using developed tools. Google and Bing were used to search for websites from Australia, while iTunes for iOS and Google play store for Android were used to search for apps. Specified key words (‘baby feeding’, ‘introducing solids’) were used to screen infant feeding advice. Criteria to assess accuracy of the content was developed using the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines. A total of 287 websites were screened, 57 met the selection criteria and 43 apps were screened; 18 were included in the analysis. Most of the websites (58%) and apps (94%) were non-commercial, some websites (21%) and only 1 app were commercial and there were 12 government websites and one broken link. The quality assessment of both websites and apps revealed a wide variation in accuracy of the infant feeding content, quality and suitability. Good quality websites and apps had wider coverage of information and higher accuracy scores than those rated as fair or poor. Two-thirds of the websites (65%) and almost half of the apps (47%) had a reading level above education grade 8. The findings of this unique analysis highlights the need for website and app developers to merge user requirements with evidence-based content to ensure that information on infant feeding is high quality.