FutureMe: Future-Self-Avatars for Healthier Lifestyles
Consumer behavior is a key determinant for chronic disease risk. Today, one in four adults are insufficiently physically active and obesity rates have climbed to record levels. Unhealthy food choices are a major cause for obesity. Both, obesity and physical inactivity increase the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, dementia, and depression.
Mobile health (mHealth) technologies are promising in addressing the rise in risky lifestyle behaviors, as they can be leveraged in large population samples without high human resource or monetary requirements. However, research shows that mHealth technologies might be less effective when used preventively in healthy population samples and that their long-term effectiveness is limited.
Also, consumers perceive current solutions for food and nutrition tracking as burdensome and time-intensive. 77% of consumers have never tried a nutrition tracking app and two in four consumers who try a nutrition tracking app discontinue it within weeks. There is thus a need for innovative food and nutrition tracking mHealth solutions that improve ease of use for the consumer while ensuring good data quality.
FutureMe project plans to contribute to the growing knowledge on health behavior change. Particularly, it aims to explore novel ways of presenting consumers with activity and food shopping data. The project tries to understand if visual data presentation – by means of an avatar – is superior to conventional, numeric data presentation.
The project explores moderators of health behavior change and explores the role that behavioral biases play in motivating consumers for healthy lifestyle choices.
The FutureMe trial also contributes to the development of better food tracking solutions. It pioneers a novel data connection to grocery loyalty cards, thereby making manual tracking redundant.