Public Health

Why BigO?

Childhood and adolescent obesity is a major global and European public health problem. Current public actions aimed at reducing obesity mostly consist of broad, indiscriminate blanket policies and strategies focused on single factors. This means that current health policies are not as effective as they need to be. There is therefore a strong need for actions targeting specific demographics that are well monitored and evaluated.

BigO was designed to fill this gap by using modern technology such as smartphones and big data, allowing European citizens to contribute to data collection. The BigO platform allows the analysis of behavioural patterns from data collected via the mobile myBigOapp.

In short, BigO allows PublicHealth Authorities to evaluate their communities based on their obesity prevalence risk, and to take local action, based on objective evidence.

How does BigO work?

Primary and secondary schools (age 9-18 years old) can implement BigO in their school programme. Children become citizen scientists, and collect information using the myBigOapp on food advertisements they have viewed, the food they eat, and behavioural data such as exercise and transportation methods. Clinics involving children with obesity can also participate. Here, the same information can be collected, complemented by other health-related information used by the clinicians for individual treatment of the child.

What does BigO do for public health?

Using the behavioural and local environmental data, comprehensive models on how the different factors in these domains interact with obesity prevalence will be created. In this way, data-driven predictions can show how effective policies are in specific communities. Moreover, it enables the real-time monitoring of the response of the population using data visualisations. A portal specifically tailored to public health professionals is being constructed.

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 identifiable patient information (e.g. names, birthdays, exact location) and uses automatically generated study-identifiers (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).