Preventing stress-induced eating with a mobile support application

Thesis (BA/MA)

Advisor: Martin Lurz (martin.lurz@tum.de)

Context

Obesity and overweight have become a pressing issue for our society. In the USA, for example, 85 % of the adult population suffer from being overweight (Chooi et a). Being overweight drastically increases the risks of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (Ogunbode et al., 2009). Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to find solutions to increase people's well-being and decrease healthcare spending. One of the external factors that influences eating behavior is stress. 80% of people stated that stress changed their eating behaviors, with 40% of them stating that their calorie intake increased. This subjective perception in supported by several studies which have also shown that chronic stress and obesity are strongly linked together (Dallman, 2010). The enable cluster (https://www.enable-cluster.de) is exploring a digital approach to prevent stress-related overeating by using smartphones and wearables. Wearables have a high accuracy in measuring stress indicators and are extremely useful in identifying and predicting a person's stress level (Kaiser et al., 2020). Based on this research, the project team developed a study design based on an iOS intervention app.

Tasks

  • Improving current app features based on early participant feedback
  • Support research team during the conduction of a larger scientific study regarding nutrition behavior and app acceptance
  • Analyze the study data with the focus on the regulation of stress levels through comfort foods vs. healthier substitutes

Requirements

  • Knowledgeable in the development of iOS / watchOS apps
  • Interested in being part of a larger scientific study
  • Interested in healthy nutrition and working with nutrition data
  • A high degree of autonomy, individual responsibility, and attention-to-detail

Further Information

The thesis can be written in English or German. The topic can also be adapted to your interests. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please send your application including our application form, a current transcript of records, and your CV to martin.lurz@tum.de. Please note that we can only consider applications with complete documents.

References

  • Y. C. Chooi, C. Ding, and F. Magkos 2019. “The epidemiology of obesity,” Metabolism, vol. 92, pp. 6–10.
  • M. F. Dallman 2010. “Stress-induced obesity and the emotional nervous system,” Trends Endocrinol. Metab., vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 159–165.
  • B. Kaiser, S. L. Holzmann, H. Hauner, C. Holzapfel, and K. Gedrich 2020. “Nutrition and stress. Overview of selected stress indicators and smart measurement techniques,” Ernahrungs Umschau, vol. 67, no. 5, pp. 98–107.
  • A. M. Ogunbode, A. A. Fatiregun, and O. O. Ogunbode 2009. “Health risks of obesity,” Ann Ib Postgrad Med, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 22–25.