Health Systems and Policy Research

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Technology, Health, and the Capabilities Approach: The Ethics of Dietary Apps

Shashu Sharma*

Nutritional applications are believed to encourage improved eating practises, enhance dietary knowledge, and increase nutritional awareness. However, their use has also brought up a number of moral and social concerns about how they affect individual freedoms, how they create power imbalances, how they prevent end users from learning more about health, how they coerce people, and even how they can have negative effects on people's health. This essay will examine some of the most frequent concerns levelled towards dietary apps using the capabilities approach methodology to determine what steps should be implemented to preserve people's rights and ensure their health. Dietary applications democratise nutritional knowledge, but they must be created and used in a way that is morally acceptable and considerate of users' individual, societal, and environmental preferences. This essay will show that, while some forms of nudging within dietary applications are appropriate, app developers shouldn't push people in ways that are agency-infringing, coercive, or forceful for their own economic benefit. Overall, this article will present a user-centric technique to show how food technologies should take the end-user into account while they are being developed and used.


The Capability Approach; Technology Ethics; Health Ethics; Dietary Apps; Freedom; Nutrition

Published Date: 2023-05-30; Received Date: 2023-05-01