The problem of obesity of children and teenagers in Korea is going beyond a personal matter and has emerged as a social issue. A Korean research team is addressing the issue by developing an open-source platform through the convergence of biotechnology (BT) with information and communications technology (ICT).
A project team in charge of developing a method aimed at solving social issues from the Catholic University of Korea unveiled SeeMe5, an open source platform designed to tackle child and teenage obesity in the 2nd international symposium. The event titled, “Your obesity and sustainable innovation of health IT platform,” was held in Seoul St. Mary's Hospital on Aug. 1.
Funded by Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), under the project to develop a technology that solves social problems, SeeMe5 has gathered information on obesity-related programs that have not been able to produce any result, since several government agencies have been working on them.
This platform contains various kinds of content associated with obesity, such as the medical records of the doctor's diagnosis, data on physical fitness tests at school, and a physical exam at a public health clinic. In addition, information about food intake collected through smartphone apps and measurement instruments, data on the amount of physical activity, and data on exercise and education about diet and nutrition is included as well.
By opening up this information in the form of an open application programing interface (API), medical institutions or companies that develop obesity-related services or products can participate in the platform.
The team anticipates that as more information is accumulated in the platform, an algorithm that can manage obesity in a more effective way is going to be developed.
An already-developed service enables people to register daily exercise and dietary information so that they can accomplish their goals. It also sends questions that continually check users' health via push notifications. In this way, the service utilizes collected information and recommends suitable food from a database of 4,000 dishes provided by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Rural Development Administration. It also recommends some of over 300 exercise videos. This content is managed by healthcare experts in five areas, such as living environment, mind, physical activity, diet and nutrition, and health. Those five categories represent the 5 in SeeMe5.
Yoon Gun-ho, the head of the project team, said, “We will try hard to create synergy by connecting various programs related to preventing obesity with our open platform.” He added, “Since the government and our university are cooperating to develop the platform, I think that it will be a trusted service with public and academic characteristics.”