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Can We Design Our Way Out of the Obesity Epidemic?
Unhealthy behaviors are prevalent and lifestyle change is hard. For example, overeating and sedentary behavior pattern have become so widespread that 2/3 of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. Effective obesity interventions exist, but they require many (e.g., 16) in person treatment sessions with a professional counselor. Consequently, those interventions can reach only a very small proportion of the population that needs to lose weight. In contrast, most adults carry a mobile phone, which could serve as a platform to reconfigure obesity treatment, make it more engaging, and deliver it more efficiently. The presenter’s research team recently collaborated with an interdisciplinary group of experts in user-centered design, engineering, behavioral science, nutrition, and exercise science in order to develop a smartphone supported weight loss intervention that connects patients, coaches, and peers engaged in weight loss. She will share lessons learned and questions raised by the design process.