Foreseeable future-Self Avatar Improves Wellbeing Inspiration, but Not Behavioral Changes

To decrease bias based on the user’s recent wellbeing status, a cellular well being intervention utilized a potential-self avatar to help persons have an understanding of extensive-time period effects of bodily exercise and nutrition on their human body.

A cellular app that lets end users to see what their upcoming self would seem like when creating selected well being selections appreciably elevated enthusiasm to lead a healthful life-style, but did not substantially strengthen users’ genuine conduct to attain that goal.

These conclusions had been posted in Journal of Professional medical World-wide-web Exploration, wherever the examine authors measured the effects of FutureMe, a cell app that tracks bodily exercise and meals buys.

The primary element of the mobile overall health (mHealth) app is the long term-self avatar, which customers could personalize to precisely symbolize themselves at the commence of the intervention. Right after set up, the 2D avatar then reworked to represent a version aged up 20 a long time from the set age.

Modifications in the upcoming-self avatar had been centered on 5 primary variables, 1 physical subcategory, and 6 dietary subcategories:

  • health and fitness state: physical action
  • coronary heart wellbeing: sodium, saturated fatty acids
  • psychological properly-currently being: fruits and vegetables, fiber
  • bone well being: protein

FutureMe attributes also involved a personalised food stuff basket assessment and grocery browsing recommendations.

“The FutureMe application aims to endorse the all round dietary top quality of participants’ food purchases and to really encourage will increase in bodily action to ≥7500 ways per working day, centered on prior results that wellness gains can be attained at this level,” the analyze authors explained.

To figure out the results of the mHealth intervention, the authors conducted a 12-week randomized controlled demo and adopted up with interviews.

A whole of 95 adult individuals in Switzerland had been initially provided, with a balanced gender ratio and a median (IQR) age of 44 (19) yrs. All members spoke German, applied a smartphone, and utilized at minimum 1 of 2 main Swiss grocery loyalty playing cards. Facts were collected amongst November 2020 and April 2021.

The contributors were divided into 2 groups, with 42 in the intervention group who applied FutureMe and 53 in the manage team acquiring a conventional intervention with textual content and graphics. On the other hand, due to only 30 members finishing the intervention and the over-all small sample size, the authors noted that the statistical energy of the results is minimal and needs even more study.

Soon after the 12-week intervention, the authors discovered no statistically important improvements in bodily conduct or nutritional consumption in excess of the course of the 12-7 days intervention. Even so, they did discover that making use of the future-self avatar considerably elevated intrinsic determination amongst end users, a issue that did not raise in the command team (P = .03).

“Intrinsic enthusiasm is related with additional sustainable conduct adjust than extrinsically motivated behavior,” the authors said. “Future-self avatars, as an aspect of gamification, could possibly as a result meaningfully contribute to enhancing the for a longer period-phrase effectiveness of mHealth interventions, in comparison to additional regular textual content-primarily based and numerical interfaces.”

They also observed that long run exploration is essential, and that the small sample measurement and strict monitoring of groceries from only particular grocery suppliers minimal this study’s talents. Irrespective of this, the study displays the future-self avatar can be modified to reduce existing bias and promote sustainable behavioral improve to motivate a balanced lifestyle.


Mönninghoff A, Fuchs K, Wu J, Albert J, Mayer S. The effect of a potential-self avatar mobile well being intervention (FutureMe) on actual physical exercise and food stuff buys: randomized managed trial. J Med Net Res. Published on-line July 7, 2022. doi:10.2196/32487