AI News, AI Coach Helpful for Teens Enrolled in Weight Loss Programmes ... artificial intelligence

Nemours Uses an mHealth Chatbot to Help Kids Manage Their Weight

May 20, 2019 -Researchers with the Nemours Children’s Health System say an on-demand mHealth platform that includes an AI-enabled chatbot can help adolescents stay on a weight management program and reduce their chances of developing health issues like diabetes.

Their study, published in a recent issue of Translational Behavioral Medicine, found that an SMS text platform integrated with a chatbot called Tess improved patient engagement and often initiated conversations that participants found helpful in supporting their weight management goals.

Nemours spent about five years working with digital health company X2ai to create a library of goal-setting behavioral interactions for Tess, and spent about two years populating the chatbot with hundreds of prompts and responses designed for adolescents dealing with obesity and pre-diabetes symptoms.

With parents often declining to take their children to weight management programs because of time, travel or cost issues, a connected health platform could go a long way toward keeping those children in a program regardless of whether they’re physically attending the classes.

“A natural next step was adding an AI behavioral coach to allow more frequent and shorter interactions to keep patients engaged on the path toward healthier behaviors, as well as provide an extra layer of care outside of office hours.”

AI behavioural coach effective for teen counselling to lose some kilos: Study

A study has revealed that an artificial intelligence (AI) coach is helpful and effective for behavioural counselling of teens in weight management programmes.

'Researchers at Nemours Children's Health System use innovative tools, such as telemedicine health coaching and text reminders, to help patients and families achieve their weight-loss goals, and overcome the time and resource demands of regular office visits,' said Lloyd Werk, director of the Healthy Choices Clinic at Nemours Children Hospital in Orlando.

'A natural next step was adding an AI behavioural coach to allow more frequent and shorter interactions to keep patients engaged on the path toward healthier behaviours, as well as provide an extra layer of care outside of office hours,' Werk added.

The chatbot was also customised to interact on the goals of specific individuals, such as a teenage boy who committed to playing basketball to be more active and a girl who shared her interest in cooking and exchanged messages around healthy food choices.

Obese Teens Find AI Helpful in Weight-loss Program

The study, published today in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, demonstrates adolescents' willingness and positive reaction to engaging in SMS text conversations with the chatbot technology that simulates human interactions.

'Nemours uses innovative tools, such as telemedicine health coaching and text reminders, to help patients and families achieve their weight-loss goals, and overcome the time and resource demands of regular office visits,' said Lloyd Werk, MD, MPH, director of the Healthy Choices Clinic at Nemours Children Hospital in Orlando.

'A natural next step was adding an AI behavioral coach to allow more frequent and shorter interactions to keep patients engaged on the path toward healthier behaviors, as well as provide an extra layer of care outside of office hours.'

Working with behavioral specialists, the team spent two years pre-populating Tess with hundreds of prompts and responses to counsel obese and pre-diabetic adolescents, including expressions of empathy and compassion for their weight-loss struggles.

The chatbot was also customized to interact on the goals of specific individuals, such as a teenage boy who committed to playing basketball to be more active and a girl who shared her interest in cooking and exchanged messages around healthy food choices.

Nemours' Healthy Choices Clinic enrolled 23 patients, ages 9-18, with obesity symptoms to participate in the pilot study to determine the feasibility of adding an AI component to complement existing treatment.

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