Researchers found artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots can significantly enhance physical activity, diet, and sleep patterns. The study, the first systematic review and meta-analysis of its kind, shows that chatbots can motivate individuals to increase their daily step count, consume more fruits and vegetables, and improve sleep duration and quality.
As we transition from winter to warmer months, improving our diet and exercise becomes a priority. Surprisingly, artificial intelligence could be your best ally in adopting a healthier lifestyle.
In a groundbreaking study from the University of South Australia, researchers reveal that chatbots can significantly enhance physical activity, diet, and sleep. Published in npj Digital Medicine, the study shows that chatbots, also known as conversational agents or virtual assistants, can help you increase daily steps, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and improve sleep duration and quality.
The study found that chatbots led to the following positive outcomes:
- An extra 735 steps per day
- One additional serving of fruits and vegetables daily
- An additional 45 minutes of sleep each night
Insufficient physical activity, excessive sedentary behavior, poor diet, and inadequate sleep are major global health concerns and contribute to depression, anxiety, and various chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancers, and increased mortality.
Dr. Ben Singh, the lead researcher at UniSA, emphasizes the potential of artificial intelligence to transform healthcare delivery. Chatbots have evolved from simple applications to highly sophisticated tools capable of providing immediate, personalized, and appealing responses that encourage better lifestyle choices related to movement, eating habits, and sleep.
Interestingly, the study found that text-based chatbots are more effective than speech or voice-based AI in health-related interventions. This technology has proven to be beneficial across different age groups, dispelling the misconception that chatbots are only suitable for tech-savvy young users.
While chatbots offer innovative lifestyle support, Prof. Carol Maher suggests a blended approach of chatbots and human coaching could be most effective. Chatbots can adapt to individual needs, providing tailored advice based on user responses, habits, and preferences, leading to better motivation and guidance.
However, caution is necessary, as this field of research is still in its early stages, and there is a risk of chatbots providing inappropriate advice. For now, using chatbots to complement human coaching seems to be a promising solution, combining the unique value of human interaction with continuous support from a chatbot.
In conclusion, chatbots show great potential in addressing lifestyle diseases like obesity and can help alleviate the burden on our health system. Further research is needed, but these findings open up new possibilities for leveraging artificial intelligence in promoting healthier living.