Mobile phone and tablet usage has become a part of modern life. Mobile applications that count calories, such as My Fitness Pal, are frequently employed on a daily basis. Recent research has shown that in undergraduates, calorie tracking is associated with eating disorder pathology. In the current study (N=105 individuals diagnosed with an eating disorder), we assessed usage of My Fitness Pal to track calories. We also assessed perceptions that My Fitness Pal contributed to eating disorder symptoms and if these perceptions were associated with eating disorder symptoms. We found that a substantial percentage (~75%) of participants used My Fitness Pal and that 73% of these users perceived the app as contributing to their eating disorder. Furthermore, we found that these perceptions were correlated with eating disorder symptoms. This research suggests that My Fitness Pal is widely used in an eating disorder population and is perceived as contributing to eating disorder symptoms. Further research is needed to clarify the role calorie tracking applications play within a sample of individuals with eating disorders.
Keywords: Calorie tracking; Eating disorders; My Fitness Pal.
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