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New mobile application for weight control

A Finnish research group with participants from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the University of Tampere and Nokia Research Center has developed a new personal health diary for the mobile phone.

The Wellness Diary application has been developed to facilitate everyday management of personal well-being. The application is based on simple self-observation and feedback, proven effective by research, through which the user can monitor personal weight, eating habits, exercise, blood pressure or stress level, for example. This information can also be shared with third parties, such as a physician or a personal trainer.

In the last few years there have been several reports concerning weight increase, the lack of exercise and unhealthy diet among the populations of western countries. As a result, adult onset diabetes and other life-style related endemic diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent. These developments call for new, innovative solutions for promoting health and well-being. The mobile application announced today supports the user's active management of personal health, facilitating such issues as the monitoring of weight as a part of day-to-day living without the strenuous calculation of calories.

The Wellness Diary has been designed on the basis of a psychological model that has proven successful in weight control. The Wellness Diary is used via a mobile phone - a personal, trusted device that is always with the user and always connected. Compared to traditional Web-based applications, this creates a number of benefits, such as privacy, simplicity and speed of use in everyday situations.

In addition to weight control, the Wellness Diary can also be used in the long-term - even lifetime - management of practically any kind of long-term health risk or problem, such as diet, sleep, stress or blood pressure disorder. Research has shown that daily weight monitoring alone, for example, is a very effective method for weight control. The results can also be shared with other users or with a physician or personal trainer.

The Wellness Diary is a journal/calendar application that enables the monitoring of personal health and well-being data seamlessly with time management. A large application menu provides an extensive array of choices from which the user may select the items to be monitored according to personal improvement needs. The user then receives simple and motivating feedback in the form of graphics on the display of his/her mobile phone.

The results of Wellness Diary user tests concerning its usefulness and user-friendliness have been extremely encouraging - users quickly learned how to use it, and also kept on using it after their initial enthusiasm.

The application has been developed as a joint effort between VTT, the University of Tampere and Nokia Research Center. It can be used on Nokia S60-based mobile devices, e.g. the Nokia 5500 Sport handset..

http://www.vtt.fi/

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