The Future of Health and Wellbeing Technologies – Personalised Lifestyle Medicine

The Future of Health and Wellbeing Technologies
Personalised Lifestyle Medicine

David Wortley

David Wortley
IORMA Health & Wellness Technology Centre (HWTC)

March 2024

The Future of Health and Wellbeing Technologies

Lifestyle behaviours represent the most fundamental challenge to the sustainability of public health services.

The most common causes of early death are Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular diseases which are directly related to modern sedentary high-pressure lifestyles.

Lifestyle Medicine is a relatively new discipline designed to understand the key lifestyle influencers of health and well being which form the 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine :-

  • Mental wellbeing
  • Minimising harmful substances (e.g. drugs and alcohol)
  • Healthy relationships
  • Healthy eating
  • Sleep
  • Physical activity

A decade ago, in 2014, the NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens said “Obesity is poised to cause a huge rise in avoidable illness and disability. Obesity is the new smoking, and it represents a slow-motion car crash in terms of avoidable illness and rising health care costs. The only way to avoid a collapse of public health services is to change lifestyle behaviours and to do so at as early an age as possible.”

National Sickness Service

Today, exacerbated by COVID and other health economy challenges, we need to find ways to shift from a National Sickness Service based on curing medical conditions to a true National Health and Wellbeing Service based on preventative healthcare that does not rely on pharmaceutical interventions but on personal health management.

Enabling technologies that encourage and support people of all ages to take responsibility for and manage their own health and wellbeing will play a critical role. This article looks at the future of health and wellbeing technologies and how they are empowering and influencing positive lifestyle behaviour changes.

Smart Rings
Over the last decade, fitness trackers and smart watches have evolved into increasingly medical grade health monitoring devices supported by mobile applications with health dashboards and AI powered virtual coaches designed to encourage exercise, sleep, healthy eating and hydration. The latest and possibly most promising devices are smart rings which have all the functionality of the latest smart watches but require less charging.

Smart Rings

Additionally the way smart rings are worn, makes it possible to extend the functionality and make key health measurements more clinically accurate.

Zoe is a relatively new product/service which heralds a quantum change in personalised health management technologies. Zoe involves the analysis of blood sugar responses, blood and gut health to create a personal profile of a user’s individual response to the key influencers of health and wellbeing. It includes an educational program designed to help users to modify those lifestyle behaviours which they can change.

Like many technology enabled lifestyle medicine interventions, it uses gamification as a vehicle to influence behaviours. Zoe sets daily challenges which are a combination of short educational quizzes and exercises to make incremental improvements in diet quality. Zoe requires the discipline of recording all meals and drinks which Zoe translates into a personal diet quality score. For many users, this is likely to be a barrier to prolonged use of Zoe.

In future, as well as the nutritional values that already appear on packaged foods, it is likely that AI based applications on smartphones will be able to detect food items from a camera image and automatically submit them to applications like Zoe.


Zoe screenshots showing impact of different food types on blood sugar.

Longevity Health and Wellbeing Fitness Centres
Longevity is a health and well being fitness centre entirely focused on healthy ageing. It uses technologies to measure biological age to benchmark new members and provide them with a personalised exercise and diet program designed to lower their biological age and effectively “Reverse Ageing”.

Like other lifestyle medicine behavioural interventions, Longevity uses gamification in the form of a “biological age” index which the technology at the gyms calculates based on a series of tests of key indicators of health. The Longevity program is then tailored to help its members reduce their biological age over a period of 12 weeks and thereby help users of the gym to extend their period of healthy living and reduce the probability of ill health as they age. The Longevity strategy caters for both physical and mental health.

Longevity gyms for older age groups

Z-Tag is a USA start up company aiming to tackle the physical and mental health challenges faced by children by encouraging gamified playground exercises to encourage exercise, socialisation and learning. It combines technology with the gamification strategies that have made playground games so popular over decades.

ZTAG web site

There are 2 elements which shape the future of healthy living :- Gamification and Enabling Technologies.

Gamification holds the key to both the intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors that influence lifestyle behaviours. Intrinsic motivation makes behavioural change enjoyable, satisfying and enduring whilst extrinsic motivation in the form of rewards and penalties seeks to use a carrot and stick approach to behavioural change.

Enabling technologies support both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, primarily by their ability to measure and visualise performance. In addition, developments in AI and communication technologies provide the ability to create strategic health stakeholder ecosystems that facilitate win-win collaborative relationships such as those between health insurance companies and providers of fitness/health trackers.

Ultimately, the pressure of modern life on both physical and mental health may act as a catalyst to a new category of health and wellbeing technologies in which embedded technologies within our bodies will both control and compensate for our lifestyle behaviours and genetic characteristics/dispositions.

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