Implementing 360° Quantified Self for childhood obesity: Feasibility study and experiences from a weight loss camp in Qatar

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Background: The explosion of consumer electronics and social media are facilitating the rise of the Quantified Self (QS) movement where millions of users are tracking various aspects of their daily life using social media, mobile technology, and wearable devices. Data from mobile phones, wearables and social media can facilitate a better understanding of the health behaviors of individuals. At the same time, there is an unprecedented increase in childhood obesity rates worldwide. This is a cause for grave concern due to its potential long-term health consequences (e.g., diabetes or cardiovascular diseases). Childhood obesity is highly prevalent in Qatar and the Gulf Region. In this study we examine the feasibility of capturing quantified-self data from social media, wearables and mobiles within a weight lost camp for overweight children in Qatar. Methods: Over 50 children (9-12 years old) and parents used a wide range of technologies, including wearable sensors (actigraphy), mobile and social media (WhatsApp and Instagram) to collect data related to physical activity and food, that was then integrated with physiological data to gain insights about their health habits. In this paper, we report about the acquired data and visualization techniques following the 360° Quantified Self (360QS) methodology (Haddadi et al., ICHI 587-92, 2015). Results: 360QS allows for capturing insights on the behavioral patterns of children and serves as a mechanism to reinforce education of their mothers via social media. We also identified human factors, such as gender and cultural acceptability aspects that can affect the implementation of this technology beyond a feasibility study. Furthermore, technical challenges regarding the visualization and integration of heterogeneous and sparse data sets are described in the paper. Conclusions: We proved the feasibility of using 360QS in childhood obesity through this pilot study. However, in order to fully implement the 360QS technology careful planning and integration in the health professionals' workflow is needed. Trial Registration: The trial where this study took place is registered at on 14 November 2016 (NCT02972164).

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Fernandez-Luque, L., Singh, M., Ofli, F., Mejova, Y. A., Weber, I., Aupetit, M., … Ahmedna, M. (2017). Implementing 360° Quantified Self for childhood obesity: Feasibility study and experiences from a weight loss camp in Qatar. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 17(1).

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