Study: AI health coach improves weight loss among obese individuals

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An artificial intelligence-based coaching service may be able to help overweight and obese individuals improve their health habits, according to a study published in JMIR Diabetes.

Two public health researchers from the college of human medicine at East Lansing-based Michigan State University analyzed how a conversational AI mobile health program affected weight loss among 70 overweight and obese individuals. The mHealth program delivered participants a text-based coaching service meant to encourage weight loss and healthy diet choices.

The program, called Lark Weight Loss Health Coach AI, collected participant input related to weight loss, meal quality, physical activity and sleep data, alongside a survey that asked participants to evaluate the app for usability. During the study period, the percentage of healthy meals participants logged increased by 31 percent.

The researchers determined duration of app use, number of AI counseling sessions and number of meals logged were effective predictors of weight loss. "This study showed that use of an AI health coach is associated with weight loss comparable to in-person lifestyle interventions. It can also encourage behavior changes and have high user acceptability," the study authors concluded.

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