CAD.20.016 – Eat the rainbow!

Route: Child and adolescent development, upbringing and education

Cluster question: 105 How can Big Data and technological innovation (e-health) contribute to health care?

Nutrition science is a complex field with aspects ranging from single molecules to eating behavior. Dietary advice seems often overcomplicated to consumers/patients, with no improvement in health as a result. Especially to groups who could benefit most, such as low SES children, the advice seems often too difficult or complicated. To reach this group we opt for short and simple advice that does have an impact on health, rather than a complete advice with little result.
We will develop a data driven, color-based AI tool which gives real-time nutrition feedback to the user. The feedback will be based on the color of the food. While food color does not accurately represent its macro- and micronutrient content, an overall correlation of increasing color diversity with a more balanced diet can expected. For example, an unhealthy diet often consists of high energy dense foods that have a yellow/brown color, such as candy bars, fries, and milkshakes, whereas healthy diets contain bright colors due to fruits and vegetables. ‘Eating the rainbow’ may thus be a quick and effective tool to increase vegetable and fruit intake compared to the traditional advice ‘eat more high-fiber starchy carbohydrates and leafy vegetables’.
Feedback to the user will be offered in the form of competitive games (children can collect all the colors of the rainbow by making pictures of their food) in a simple to use app-based tool. The intervention will be made attractive using state-of-the-art gamification and usability techniques, to enhance adoption. Living labs will be used for validation of the tool and ‘eating the rainbow’ advice will be compared to the standard dietary advice. Extension to other target groups (elderly) can follow.
Experts and early career researchers in AI, nutrition, design, psychology and childhood obesity are involved; partners include Voedingscentrum, schools, health professionals and retail/ industry.


adolescents, AI, behavior, children, dietary advice, gamification, lifestyle, low socio-economic status, obesity

Other organisations

Alliantie Voeding in de Zorg, Buurtportcoaches Leeuwarden, Christelijke Hogeschool Ede, Maastricht UMC, Technical University Eindhoven, Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), Universiteit Twente (UT), Voedingscentrum


Organisation Wageningen University (WUR)
Name Prof.dr. Edith J.M. Feskens