The PEGASO project is helping address the global obesity epidemic by promoting change towards sustainable healthy lifestyles, as Renata Guarneri describes
The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents reflects a global ‘epidemic’ worldwide. Obesity in younger age groups has been recognised as an alarming key predictor for obesity in adulthood, with greater risk of social and psychological problems. Addressing the obesity issues requires a comprehensive approach, taking into account the individual’s physical-physiological characteristics, personality, as well as the social and psychological environments influencing decisions and habits in their everyday life.
Challenging teenagers in their own fields of interest, PEGASO – Fit 4 Future is an EU-funded project that aims to promote a sustainable change towards healthy lifestyles, with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.
PEGASO is an ICT-based system that motivates behavioural changes towards healthy lifestyles thus preventing overweight and obesity in the younger population. Its framework is developed along 3 main dimensions:
- Individual and environmental monitoring – using wearable sensors, mobile phones, as well as multimedia diaries for the acquisition of physical, behavioural and emotional attitude of adolescent;
- Feedback system – providing feedback in terms of “health status” changes, required actions to undertake, proposing personalised healthy options for alternative lifestyles;
- Social connectivity and engagement – addressing social networking strategies for users to share their experiences in a community of peers through different gaming strategies.
In order to effectively address challenges and achieve objectives, PEGASO activities have been organised according to the following workflow:
- Iterative service design and user/customer requirements: The requirements were prioritised and a set of technical features has been identified. This activity has been performed in cooperation with the development of the virtual individual model;
- Development of SW/HW components and modules: The set of activities which addresses the different technology aspects of PEGASO;
- Integration of the PEGASO System: Integration workshops provided the opportunity to perform retrospective analysis. An integrated set of features constitutes the PEGASO prototype and is now ready for the pilot phase;
- Evaluation and user/customer feedback: This phase will generate insights about the service from a user point of view and will feed-back in a new updated loop. The PEGASO system has been released and the full pilots have been launched in 3 different countries. The pilot will provide feedback on the medical side and will be used to evaluate PEGASO with regard to the key objective of impacting young people’s lifestyles.
PEGASO project is expected to have effects in reducing overweight, obesity and associated diseases and social costs leveraging the possibilities offered by innovative ICT as well as teens’ affection to mobile and social network.
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