The BigO project in clinics

Why BigO?

We all want children to be able to grow-up healthily. Unfortunately, in the way the current living environment is shaped healthy behaviours, such as eating healthily and exercising, are often discouraged. The BigO project aims to gather information on how (un)healthy the behaviours and living environments of different children are, including both obese children and children with a recommended weight. With the information of many children we can detect which aspects of behaviour and living environment are important determinants for obesity risk. With this information and complex analyses public health policies can be made more effective so that healthy behaviour can be encouraged, rather than discouraged, by the children’ living environment.

How does BigO data collection work in the clinic?

In the BigO project, children become citizen scientists and also help their clinical trajectory by collecting information on their own living environment and personal behaviour. This information consists of both objective measurements (such as pictures of food, how much they walk) and subjective measurements (such as mood, satiety). Information on patient eating habits, physical activity, sleeping characteristics and photographs of food advertisements is collected via myBigOapp on mobile phone and smartwatch.

BigO data collection in clinics may be continuous for four weeks or interrupted by an intervention period. Preliminary evaluation of the BigO system in the clinics showed that it can be a useful behavioural monitoring toolset for the monitoring of the progress of site-specific clinical interventions. Therefore, patients may use myBigO app and smartwatch for 2 weeks in two repeated instances (4 weeks total), once before and once after an intervention period. If part of the local treatment protocol, the Mandometer device can also be used by the patients. At this moment, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland and the Biomedical Research Foundation Academy in Athens, Greece are actively participating in BigO.

From the collected information, behavioural indicators about eating habits, physical activity and the living environment can help clinicians in the treatment. Although these data are deidentified in myBigOapp before they are sent to BigO servers, clinicians can access patient information via the clinical portal. With a document, stored outside the BigO system, they will be able to match deidentified data to a specific patient.

From the different behavioural and environmental factors, group behaviour patterns and personal behaviour patterns are extracted. Information on these components of the children in the clinic can be compared to the local environment and community and to BMI distribution. With the recorded behavioural data it can be tested whether behavioural information can predict change in standardized BMI over the course of months, for clinical purpose.

What is the use of BigO?

Next to aiding in the individual patient treatment, myBigO data of obese children can also be used for analysis on behavioural aspects on the group level. Sophisticated analyses can create comprehensive population models about how many behavioural patterns and environmental characteristics interact and influence obesity prevalence. Public health authorities will be able to use the data collected in BigO to plan effective health policies to reduced childhood and adolescent obesity. Additionally they can use BigO data to predict the efficiency of policies in specific communities, and monitor the progress of these policies.

On the individual patient level, BigO participation will allow the participating clinical partners to integrate new technological tools in their clinical practice, leading to improved individual health services and allowing the patient access to relevant personal behavioural data (data as defined by localized clinical practices).

More information

Would you like to know more about the BigO project or how your school could join?

Please feel free to contact us via the BigO contact page.


BigO never collects directly identifyable patient information (e.g. names, birthday) and uses automatically generated study-identifications (such as patient.user.001). Data that is collected is sent to the BigO server after removing irrelevant data in the smartphone. Sent data is anonymised and encrypted. Data is stored exclusively in European data centres and complies with the EU Directive 95/46/EC and the newer EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).