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Barbara Livingstone [BEd, MSc(Biology), MSc(Human Nutrition),PhD]

  • Professor of Human Nutrition within the School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University .
  • She has been a member of staff at the University of Ulster University since 1980
  • Her research interests include: dietary and lifestyle risk factors for obesity; mechanisms of control of appetite, satiety and food intake and development of evidence based dietary guidelines for healthy eating.
  • She has published over 100 peer-reviewed research papers and has attracted over £8 million in research grant income
  • In 2012 she was appointed adjunct Professor of Human Nutrition at Monash University, Melbourne and awarded a Senior Distinguished Research Fellowship by the University of Ulster.
  • She is currently a Scientific Governor of the British Nutrition Foundation, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) Public Health Nutrition Sub-committee and has chaired  the Data and Research Advisory Group of the N. Ireland Obesity Prevention Steering Group (2009-2012).


The ability of dietitians and other health professionals to accurately measure dietary intake is a key factor influencing their capacity to adequately assess nutritional status, determine the risk of chronic diseases, monitor compliance with dietary recommendations and diet plans, and evaluate the outcome of nutrition education.

Traditionally dietary assessment has relied on a variety of self-report methods for collecting dietary intake information, each of which required the individual, or an interviewer to collect the information in a paper format However, each of these methods is fraught with inherent and extrinsic methodologic problems making accurate measures on intake extremely difficult.

More recently, research has focussed on harnessing new applications of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a viable solution to current methodological shortcomings. ICT has the potential to reduce researcher and participant burden, improve adherence and communication, automate and standardize coding and upgrade data quality, consistency and completeness. In turn these features are likely to reduce costs associated with dietary-related research and health care. However, knowledge on the performance of ICT is still limited. A popular misconception is that new technologies in dietary assessment are also methodologically new. In fact, most of the them share overlapping methodological features with the conventional methods of dietary assessment and their integration into clinical studies will not resolve the inherent individual bias related to self-reported data. The decision to incorporate ICT into clinical practice should only be made after a thorough evaluation of the methodology and with the specific outcome goals in mind.

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