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Charting lifestyle changes from big data sets

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Charting lifestyle changes from big data sets

  1. 1. Charting lifestyle changes from big data sets Treatment of chronic diseases consumes about 75 percent of the healthcare resources of industrialised countries. A pre-emptive approach to disease and in check. Changes in behavioural factors like diet, exercise, sleep, stress and the use of intoxicants can prevent a large proportion of chronic diseases and reduce the morbidity of those who are already ill. However, it is and ensure that they continue over the long term. Analysed data on what people eat, when they exercise and how they sleep is needed as a foundation for solutions and services aimed at healthy behavioural changes. The information required can exist in large sets of data collected in various situations. Access to unique material “We used two data sets that were unique in their vol- ume of data. One was based on photographs taken by 190,000 mobile phone users of the meals they were about to eat. The other came from Firstbeat Tech- nologies and showed heartbeat variations of 30,000 SalWe - the Enabler of Joint Research in Health and Wellbeing Researchers have been analysing big data related to diet, physical activity and stress in the search to understand how healthy living habits vary between individuals and over time. The goal of this part of the SalWe Mind and Body programme was to uncover effective ways of
  2. 2. people,” says Professor Ilkka Korhonen, Tampere Uni- versity of Technology. The data sets were ideal for the study because diet, physical activity and stress are some of the most im- to obtain such accurate information, especially over the long term. The data was analysed by researchers from Tampere University of Technology, Firstbeat Technologies, the University of Jyväskylä, the Institute of Occupational Health and VTT Technical Research Centre. The uni- versities of Cornell and South Carolina in the United States also participated in the work. Peer diet advice reliable The diet database had been produced by a smart phone application. It contained about 8 million pictures con- tributed by users who took photographs of their meals and sent them to other users for a verdict on whether they were eating healthily. “We wanted to see whether individuals were willing to use an application like this and whether feedback from other users was reliable. We observed that most users soon forgot all about the app and only 3 percent - mon problem with free, easy-to-install mobile apps.” “But on the positive side, we found that peer assess- ments about the healthiness of the food were as ac- curate as the views of experts.” The conclusion is that services to promote healthy lifestyle changes can be based on peer evaluations rather than requiring input from health professionals. In this way the services can provide faster feedback, their cost can be reduced and their social appeal can be enhanced. Assessing exercise from pulse variations “Data from Firstbeat allowed us to analyse how much the Finns really exercise and how many follow work- out recommendations in their everyday lives, when researchers are not looking on.” The analysed data is valuable in drawing up norms and control data against which the measured results of individuals can be compared. combining it with other available data. The aim is to throw new light on human morbidity and physical performance. The data is also being used to evalu- ate stress and recovery, and to explore links between physical activity and stress.” SalWe as a facilitator “SalWe made it possible for us to begin the study and to conduct sustained, challenging research work. It also played a major role in providing us with access to American big data and the Firstbeat database.” SalWe - the Enabler of Joint Research in Health and Wellbeing More information Ilkka Korhonen professor Tampere University of Technology +358 40 820 1357 06/2014

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