Big data against childhood Obesity

The number of children and adolescents with obesity is high and still rising every year. Children with obesity have a higher risk of developing various diseases later on, compared to children without obesity. The reasons why some children become obese are complex. Behaviours that determine an individual’s weight are influenced by many factors in the living environment, such as transportation options, food advertisements, safety, food prices, and more. In turn, the living environment is affected by public health policies. Combined, these are components that determine obesity rates.

BigO collects and analyses anonymous data on children’s behavioural patterns and their living environment. By using advanced analytics and sophisticated visualisations, BigO extracts data-driven evidence on which local factors are involved, and how these factors influence childhood obesity in Europe. As an open platform, BigO is envisioned as a tool for local public health authorities.

This is done in various steps. School aged children become citizen scientists by collecting data about their behavioural patterns and local environment, using the myBigOapp. This data is anonymised and used to create complex statistical models to analyse how behaviour and the environment influence the prevalence of obesity. This anonymous information can be used to predict how policy changes could influence obesity rates, and can be used to compare different communities on a group level.

With this information, BigO will be able to advise clinics and public health authorities on how to develop and plan effective programs and policies, in an attempt to reduce childhood obesity. BigO aims to redefine the way obesity-related policy strategies are designed and used in European societies.

Overview of the BigO project

Privacy is a key point of attention within the entire project, especially because we are working with children and adolescents. In short: no information is directly traceable to an individual. Geolocation information that is collected via the app is temporarily stored on the BigO servers to extract generalised and statistical data, from which individuals cannot be detected. Then, it is permanently removed from the BigO servers. On photographs collected via the app, faces are not allowed. Administrators also check the photographs for irrelevant or indecent content, before it becomes available on the portals. All data that is stored and sent is done so de-identified, anonymised, encrypted and secured. For more information, check our security flyer below.

For more information visit our aims page, the information flyer below, or the information for schools, clinics or public health users.