Project description

Reinventing Obesity Prevention: The Holistic Approach of the HealthyW8 Project


Obesity is a complex issue influenced by environmental factors such as family, lifestyle/living conditions, and socioeconomic resources; besides host factors: genes, epigenetics, gut microbiota, or psychological traits. This is why prevention of obesity needs to focus on the person's characteristics and environment, using a contextual system approach. The HealthyW8 project combines various methods, including socioeconomic and living context factors, to target the problem of obesity. The project uses technological psychological assessments, policy audits, and qualitative and quantitative SSH methods to better understand behaviour and its triggers. The project integrates different disciplines to understand obesity better, including sensor-based data collection, observational studies, and participant surveys.

HealthyW8 aims to develop an integrated precision prevention approach for obesity, which includes an enhanced HLRS (Health Lifestyle Recommendation System) based on an emotions-aware HDT (Human Digital Twin). The HLRS will integrate multiple host factors, lifestyle aspects, and socio-economic and living contexts to provide personalized recommendations. The HDT will help forecast human behaviour, understand practical limitations of recommendations, and serve as a framework for simulation and prediction models for individual decision-making processes. The use of a HDT for obesity prevention is a novel approach that could revolutionize obesity management.

Woman using application tracking habits


HealthyW8 strives to encourage healthier lifestyles from an early stage of life onward, decreasing the prevalence of obesity and lowering healthcare costs. Interventions and digital solutions will allow health professionals to tailor their services to individuals without high infrastructure and administration costs. The project emphasizes improving health literacy through personalization of goals and nudging/gamification effects for motivation, with the support of the HDT to ensure long-lasting and sustainable lifestyle changes.

HealthyW8 aims to implement a holistic approach to obesity prevention, utilizing new tools for routine screening of overweight/obesity risks in daily practice. It will promote the integration of user-centered eHealth/mHealth solutions for obesity prevention and lifestyle management, reducing obesity risk through early detection and management, availability of healthier foods, increased health literacy, and easy-to-integrate digital solutions. This will lead to reduced public health burden and healthcare costs, as well as a potential increase in life expectancy.

Millions €

Gender Approach

Female patient with a doctor

It is well-documented that overweight and obesity have a disparate prevalence, physiology, discrimination pattern and health implications among men and women across all age groups. Biological influences can, in part, explain these differences. Sexual dimorphism of obesity traits can be attributed to genetic blueprint and expression differences between men and women that control biological phenotypes such as skeletal size, bone mass density, muscle mass, hormonal activity, and adipose tissue accumulation and distribution across various age windows, but also to psychological traits that may affect dietary and lifestyle choices. In the meantime, gender norms that set men and women’s roles in the household and their status in society are established critical factors that underpin social and behavioural causes of obesity.

HealthyW8 aims to design interventions that consider sex and gender-specific determinants of obesity. The project will involve statisticians and a multivariable approach to analyse and interpret data and will strive to develop anti-obesity interventions and app-assisted tools suitable for both genders, including psychological and emotional aspects. HealthyW8 will ensure, by its co-participation design and gender balanced trials, that any health recommendation, communication, and dissemination tools produced are suitable for each gender, integrating expectations of women and men and assuring, by including users of various socioeconomic backgrounds that SSH are appropriately considered.

Project Objectives

  • Determine the critical underlying host factors related to the risk of obesity development and their functional role in energy regulation, based on literature and own studies conducted.
  • Evaluate the contribution of individual socio-economic background, environment exposures, lifestyle and behavioural aspects and underlying policy structures to the transition from a healthy weight to overweight/obesity and their interplay with host factors and biological pathways.

  • Develop an intervention strategy and tools such as the digital-based Health Lifestyle Recommendation System (HLRS), which will empower the user to make informed decisions about diet, Physical Activity, and other lifestyle aspects, considering living environment and conditions and personal preferences.
  • Create a Human Digital Twin (HDT) as a basis for personalisation of the Health Lifestyle Recommendation System (HLRS) and its health-literacy related upskilling components, and constituting a framework that provides a better formal model of human characteristics and behaviours for effectively translating lifestyle recommendations into practice.

  • Starting with a literature review to reveal most promising intervention measures and to detect gaps of knowledge, proceeding with the participatory design and refinement of the interventions and tools, this process moves on to pilot testing with 2,000 participants, targeting obesity prevention. This will identify the most efficient combinations of intervention components for future steps and fine-tune the solutions and tools.

  • Evidence the scalability potential of the interventions and their effects by a cost/benefit assessment.
  • Triangulate findings and disseminate the proposed portfolio of multi-level recommendations; facilitate integration into existing obesity prevention programs and general uptake of the solutions by Open Stakeholders Platform and dissemination channels.

Project Workpackages

Project Progress

Inventory of best practices and relevant levers for overweight/obesity prevention and management

Líder: BIPS
M1 - M40


Participatory design of overweight/obesity prevention and management intervention strategies and tools

Líder: LIST
M1 - M54


Implementation of pilot trials to validate the selected tools-assisted interventions

Líder: TU/e
M1 - M24


Implementation of larger intervention studies with different target populations

M12 - M55


Multi-criteria and economic evaluation of the interventions

Líder: CREDA
M12 - M58


Communication, Dissemination, Training, Exploitation and Clustering (CDTEC) Activities

Líder: ENHA
M1 - M60


Project management and coordination

Líder: LIH
M1 - M60