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Pride and Prejudice: Chronic disease prevention through monitoring and intervention

Chronic disease prevention through real-life monitoring and context-aware intervention design.

A healthy lifestyle is key to people’s well-being and vitality. Physical activity and diet are two key lifestyle factors for sustainable health, which are also strongly linked with each other. Inactivity and poor dietary behaviour are affected by the interaction of personal, social, cultural and societal conditions. In modern affluent societies where food is abundant and available 24/7, and where people are constantly seduced by companies’ marketing efforts, it is extremely challenging to stick to a healthy diet combined with regular physical activity, and many people are unable to change their habits. 

“Providing people tools to improve their lifestyle can empower them and enhance their feelings of self-worth”
Gouveia et al.

This multidisciplinary programme features a unique combination of contributors, representing the physical sciences, life sciences, behavioural scientists, social scientists, ICT and design. The consortium is composed of researchers from all four of the Netherlands’ technical universities and within each university from multiple faculties and departments and is thus uniquely suited to deliver this programme’s promise.

It combines in-depth nutrition and nutrition behaviour knowledge with the technological knowledge of lifestyle sensors, the design of lifestyle interventions for groups of people, the ability to seamlessly integrate sensing technologies into people’s daily lives, and the expertise on tailoring feedback to individuals on their nutrition and physical activity data, with an awareness of what can persuade them to make healthy choices in real life.

“We hope the tools developed during this project support people in making necessary changes in their lifestyle.”
Gouveia et al.

This programme aims to generate new scientific knowledge and innovative technology, including new frameworks for behaviour change, systems to remotely monitor health parameters and behaviour, and design approaches that persuade people to make healthy choices about what they eat and to what extent they are physically active, in order to adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

The novelty of this programme lies in combining the monitoring in real-life through sensors with development of design interventions and evaluation of the effectiveness of these combined interventions. The development of the interventions will address both the socio-cultural context (e.g., household type and culture) and the physical context in which products are acquired and consumed and where physical activity can take place (e.g., stores, kitchens, city squares).

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