A social media chatbot for increasing physical activity behaviour – the FysBot

Description

This project will explore motivating individuals to increase their physical activity behaviour using a social media chatbot designed based on potential users’ preferences. Chatbots are computer software programs that aim to simulate a human conversation. Unlike most apps, chatbots are easy to use and do not require familiarity with a specific user interface. There is a high internet penetration rate in Norway and most people use social media regularly. Combining physical activity, chatbots, and social media could be a cost-effective way of reaching a large population.

There are several benefits to regular physical activity, which include the better management of chronic conditions, improved mental health, economic growth, and improved overall health and quality of life. Therefore, a social media chatbot for increasing physical activity behaviour could be an innovative way to strengthen public health efforts to promote physical activity in Norway, and perhaps globally.

Goals

To determine the feasibility of a social media chatbot for increasing physical activity behaviour.

Concrete objectives:

  • Explore overweight/obese sedentary individuals’ preferences and integrate these into a physical activity social media chatbot.
  • Explore whether a social media chatbot that integrates users’ preferences can be used by overweight/obese sedentary individuals and generate a physical activity behaviour change.
  • Explore users’ satisfaction with the chatbot.

Method

The project is a mixed-methods study involving both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.

There are 5 work packages (WP):

  • WP1 - Interviews about users' preferences
  • WP2 - Integration of users’ preferences into chatbot prototype
  • WP3 - Pilot study: Eligible participants will be enrolled in a 12-week study where they use the physical activity social media chatbot
  • WP4 - Physical activity behaviour change assessment
  • WP5 - Chatbot users’ satisfaction interviews

Conclusion

FysBot is expected to increase physical activity behaviour and this may contribute to chronic disease prevention and management, enhancing the knowledge and available services for increasing physical activity, and lowering healthcare costs. A social media chatbot proven to be feasible for increasing physical activity behaviour could be used on a larger scale across Norway and extended to other lifestyle behaviours like improving diet, reducing substance abuse, and promoting preventive measures.