MyH.E.A.L.T.H. app—once only available to military—hits civilian app stores in 2021
U.S. soldiers, family members and veterans have had exclusive access to a smartphone app they used to improve eating, sleeping, exercising and stress, until now.
The same scientists who created the one-of-a-kind military app for the U.S. Department of Defense were given the go-ahead to complete a new consumer version for 2021 release with the support of a recent $75,000 LSU LIFT² (Leveraging Technology for Innovation) grant from the LSU Board of Supervisors.
"The app is unique in that it takes a 'whole-health' strategy in addressing performance," said Dr. Tiffany Stewart, director of the Behavior Technology Lab at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "The app has also been tested thoroughly by roughly 15,000 soldiers -a group that has to be physically fit, and at the same time also endure significant challenges and a tremendous amount of daily stress."
The app focuses on five key goals: weight management, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and resilience. Resilience is a combination of stress management and reduction, mood and anxiety modification, and mindfulness training, which Dr. Stewart said can play a big role in overall wellness and the ability to meet key health goals.
"Honing your resilience is especially important while everyone figures out how to cope and thrive in a time of perpetual uncertainty," Dr. Stewart said.
Scientists in Dr. Stewart's lab are designing the upgraded consumer version to include:
- Sophisticated artificial intelligence technology that tailors coaching to the individuals, as well as makes it easier to use and helps consumers stick to their daily action plans.
- A community connection that puts together users with similar goals.
- Enhanced strategies for resilience
"This app distills 30 years of obesity research and military science into a powerful tool that can help anyone improve their health," said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director Dr. John Kirwan. "MyH.E.A.L.T.H. represents one of Pennington Biomedical's major goals: to take science from the lab and put it to use in the community."
MyH.E.A.L.T.H will allow users to:
- Create, log, track and improve their health and performance habits with personalized workouts and instructions, custom reminders, and personalized expert advice.
- Choose dietitian-created meal plans that fit their caloric prescription and help users stick to nutrition goals.
- Create grocery lists for upcoming meals to streamline shopping.
- Optimize sleep habits with sleep tracking. Identify patterns in sleep behavior and make changes to improve health and daily well-being.