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PEGASO: A smart wearable sensors’ system for counter-fighting overweight in teenagers

Obesity and other lifestyle-related illness are among the top healthcare challenges in Europe. Obesity alone accounts for up to 7% of healthcare costs in the EU, as well as wider economy costs associated with lower productivity, lost output and premature death. Obesity in younger age is an alarming predictor for obesity in adulthood, but also entails short term health complications in juvenile age along with greater risk of social and psychological problems.
Knowing how to stay healthy is not enough to motivate individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles, but relevant progress can be achieved through the use of incentives delivered through a combination of processes and mobile technologies.

The PEGASO system framework will address prevention, by offering to teenagers – the primary target of PEGASO - three main functionalities:
1) Individual & Environmental Monitoring – This dimension consists of the environmental, behavioural and physiological analysis of young users, through a high level-monitoring platform including wearable sensors and mobile phone as well as multimedia diaries for the acquisition of physical, behavioural and emotional attitude of adolescent.
2) Feedback System - the second functionality is aimed at providing a feedback in terms of “health status” changes, required actions to undertake and so on. This function will also propose personalized healthy modification of the lifestyle (in terms of diet and/or physical activity), thus promoting the active involvement of adolescents in changing their behaviours.
3) Social connectivity and engagement - The third dimension extends to include a social network where the user can share experiences with a community of peers concerning e.g. physical activity, food consumptions and everyday habits through different gaming strategies.

This paper presents the results of design, development and validation of the wearable platform of the PEGASO system, in which aesthetical and technical requirements are equally crucial for the acceptability and reliability of the complete system.

Keywords: wearable monitoring, lifestyle assessment, teenagers, overweight and obesity, prevention