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      WeightMentor: A New Automated Chatbot for Weight Loss Maintenance

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      Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)

      Human Computer Interaction Conference

      4 - 6 July 2018

      Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, Connected Health, Health Communication, Weight Loss Maintenance

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          Abstract

          Obesity and Overweight !are significant risk factors for many chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. Weight loss is difficult and maintaining weight loss is a greater challenge. Effective communication is hindered by conflicting information and the sensitivity of the subject of obesity. Recent technological solutions for weight loss maintenance are limited. A chatbot would be appropriate for supporting weight loss as it does not require a human operator, is available 24 hours a day, and supports natural communication while maintaining anonymity. Such a system may also be integrated with popular social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger. This paper describes the design and development of the WeightMentor chatbot, a self-help motivational tool for weight loss maintenance. Chatbots may have the potential to contribute to obesity prevention and management.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Maintenance of weight loss in overweight middle-aged women through the Internet.

          The purpose of this study was to compare weight regain in a group of perimenopausal women (48.0+/-4.4 years old), randomized to a 12-month weight maintenance Internet intervention or to self-directed weight maintenance after a 4-month weight loss treatment. After a 4-month behavioral weight loss program, 135 women were randomized to either Internet or self-directed groups. The Internet group (n=66) used a website to gain information and complete logs concerning their weight, diet, and exercise progress over a 12-month follow-up. The 69 self-directed women had no contact with study staff. All women were measured for weight and body composition, and diet intake, and were interviewed using the 7-day physical activity questionnaires at baseline, 4 months, and 16 months. At the end of the 12-month follow-up, the Internet and self-directed groups had regained on average 0.4+/-5.0 kg and 0.6+/-4.0 kg, respectively (P=0.5). In within-group analyses, Internet diet-log entries were correlated with follow-up weight change (r=-0.29; P<0.05) and moderately with change in exercise energy expenditure (EEE; r=0.44; P<0.01). Follow-up weight change was not correlated with change in dietary intake. While significant weight loss was maintained over follow-up by both groups of women, Internet use did not surpass self-direction in helping to sustain weight loss. Among Internet users, Internet use was related to weight change and EEE.
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            The effect of a short message service maintenance treatment on body mass index and psychological well-being in overweight and obese children: a randomized controlled trial.

            Maintaining weight loss results in childhood obesity treatment is difficult to achieve. Self-management techniques such as self-monitoring are associated with increased weight loss and maintenance. This study analyzes whether self-monitoring of lifestyle behaviours through a short message service maintenance treatment (SMSMT) via mobile phones with personalized feedback positively effects weight, lifestyle behaviours and psychological well-being in obese children. After 3 months of behavioural lifestyle treatment, 141 overweight and obese children (7-12 years) were randomly assigned to an intervention group receiving SMSMT for 9 months (n = 73) or to the control group (n = 68). The intervention group sent weekly self-monitoring data on exercise and eating behaviour and their mood via mobile phones. In return, they received tailored feedback messages. Primary treatment outcomes were weight, eating behaviour and psychological well-being, i.e. competence, self-esteem and quality of life. Secondary outcome was adherence to the SMSMT. Data were analyzed with mixed modelling. SMSMT did not improve treatment outcomes. Controls gained temporarily in physical health scores (P = 0.01). SMSMT completers sent on average every 2 weeks an SMS. Children who had greater weight loss during the first 3 months of lifestyle treatment sent more SMSs (P = 0.04). We did not find a positive effect of SMSMT on weight, eating behaviour or psychological well-being in obese children. SMSMT seems to be a feasible method of treatment delivery. Future research should study variations of SMSMT to investigate how SMSMT can be more effective. © 2012 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity.
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              Adolescents Just Do Not Know What They Want: A Qualitative Study to Describe Obese Adolescents’ Experiences of Text Messaging to Support Behavior Change Maintenance Post Intervention

              Background Adolescents are considered a hard to reach group and novel approaches are needed to encourage good health. Text messaging interventions have been reported as acceptable to adolescents but there is little evidence regarding the use of text messages with overweight and obese adolescents to support engagement or behavior change after the conclusion of a healthy lifestyle program. Objective The intent of this study was to explore the opinions of overweight adolescents and their parents regarding the use of text messages as a support during the maintenance period following an intervention. Methods This paper reports on the findings from focus groups conducted with adolescents (n=12) and parents (n=13) who had completed an eight-week intensive intervention known as Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program (CAFAP). Focus groups were conducted three months post intensive intervention. Participants were asked about their experiences of the prior three-month maintenance phase during which adolescents had received tri-weekly text messages based on the self-determination theory and goal-setting theory. Participants were asked about the style and content of text messages used as well as how they used the text messages. Data were analyzed using content and thematic analyses. Results Two clear themes emerged from the focus groups relating to (1) what adolescents liked or thought they wanted in a text message to support behavior change, and (2) how they experienced or responded to text messages. Within the “like/want” theme, there were five sub-themes relating to the overall tone of the text, frequency, timing, reference to long-term goals, and inclusion of practical tips. Within the “response to text” theme, there were four sub-themes describing a lack of motivation, barriers to change, feelings of shame, and perceived unfavorable comparison with other adolescents. What adolescents said they wanted in text messages often conflicted with their actual experiences. Parent reports provided a useful secondary view of adolescent experience. Conclusions The conflicting views described in this study suggest that overweight and obese adolescents may not know or have the ability to articulate how they would best be supported with text messages during a healthy lifestyle maintenance phase. Further, supporting both engagement and behavior change simultaneously with text messaging may not be possible. Intervention texts should be personalized as much as possible and minimize feelings of guilt and shame in overweight and obese adolescents. Future research with text messaging for overweight and obese adolescents should incorporate clear intervention aims and evaluation methods specifically related to adolescent engagement or behavior change. Trial Registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12611001187932; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?ACTRN=12611001187932 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6LGSbk8d9).
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Conference
                July 2018
                July 2018
                : 1-5
                Affiliations
                School of Communication & Media

                Ulster University
                School of Communication & Media/Institute of Nursing & Health Research

                Ulster University
                School of Computing

                Ulster University
                School of Nursing/Institute of Nursing & Health Research

                Ulster University
                Article
                10.14236/ewic/HCI2018.103
                © Holmes et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of British HCI 2018. Belfast, UK.

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference
                HCI
                32
                Belfast, UK
                4 - 6 July 2018
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Human Computer Interaction Conference
                Product
                Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
                Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
                Categories
                Electronic Workshops in Computing

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