Tailoring Motivational Mechanisms to Engage Teenagers in Healthy
Authors: Life-Style: A Concept
Abstract: Overweight and obesity are the first leading risk related to nutrition for global deaths, in the last few years it outranked the famine. Obesity increases the risk of several debilitating, and deadly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Due to the many health risks associated with obesity, the financial burden that the treatment of this disease exercises on the European healthcare system is enormous. For this reason, the best strategy relies in prevention. In particular, the pervasiveness of technology can leverage an important advantage for the promotion of healthy behaviors in the new generations. This paper introduces PEGASO, a technological multidisciplinary project funded by the European Commission that aims at creating an ecosystem that can enable teenagers to adopt healthy habits leading to a healthy life-style. The ICT system plays an important role in the PEGASO ecosystem. This behavior change support system integrates a Virtual Individual Model that allows characterizing the physiological status, physical condition and the psychological status for each user. This allows the elaboration of tailored interventions aiming at promoting the adoption of healthy habits by the users. This paper describes this concept introducing the Virtual Individual Model and discusses the possible interventions related to the promotion of physical exercise and of healthy dietary habits. At the end of the paper, some indications about the future development of the PEGASO project are provided.
Keywords: Persuasive Technology, Human Factors, Wearable Technology, Obesity Prevention
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