AI chatbots improve physical activity, diet, and sleep quality

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AI-powered chatbots can help enhance people’s physical activity, diet and sleep patterns.

NEW YORK, Oct 28, (Agencies): Recent research offers compelling evidence that AI-powered chatbots can play a significant role in enhancing people’s physical activity, dietary choices, and sleep patterns. Published in npj Digital Medicine, this study underscores the potential of chatbots in promoting well-being and healthier living.

Global health concerns such as poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, inadequate physical activity, and insufficient sleep have far-reaching implications, including contributing to health issues like depression, anxiety, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer, and increased mortality rates.

Chatbots, once considered for simple tasks like food orders and news updates, have evolved to provide immediate, personalized responses that empower users to make healthier choices in their daily lives.

Ben Singh, a research fellow at the University of South Australia, was drawn to this research topic due to the growing prevalence of chatbots and their potential to positively impact public health. He noted, “With the increasing use of digital technology in our daily lives, exploring how chatbots can influence lifestyle behaviors, such as physical activity, diet, and sleep, seemed like a relevant and intriguing area of study.”

The study involved a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 trials, incorporating data from 3,567 participants. These trials assessed the effects of chatbots on physical activity, diet, and sleep, utilizing rigorous methods and standardized outcome measures to ensure the reliability of their findings.

The research revealed that chatbot interventions led to small-to-moderate effect size improvements in physical activity, diet, and sleep. Participants interacting with chatbots took an additional 735 steps per day, made healthier dietary choices, and enjoyed an extra 45 minutes of sleep each night.

While chatbots have the potential to be effective tools in promoting healthier lifestyle behaviors, it’s crucial to choose the right chatbot type and tailor interventions to specific health goals. Notably, text-based chatbots outperformed voice-based alternatives, making them more conducive to achieving positive health outcomes for users of all ages.

Despite the promise of chatbots in healthcare, it’s essential to exercise caution, as the research field is still emerging. For now, a combination of chatbots and human coaching appears to offer the best results. The design, content, and engagement strategies of chatbots are critical factors in their success, and further refinements are needed to maximize their effectiveness.

Future research should focus on larger sample sizes, long-term follow-up studies, and a deeper exploration of chatbot interactions. The study emphasizes the exciting potential for chatbots to improve public health and well-being but also highlights the importance of ongoing research and development in this field.

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