Pennington scientists get grant to develop civilian version of military health app

    A smartphone app developed by Pennington Biomedical Research Center scientists to improve eating, sleeping, exercising and stress management habits—once only available to members of the U.S. military—is coming to civilian app stores in 2021.

    The same Pennington scientists who created the MyH.E.A.L.T.H. Performance App for the U.S. Department of Defense were given the green light to complete a new consumer version of the app with funding from a recent $75,000 LSU Leveraging Technology for Innovation, or LIFT, grant from the LSU Board of Supervisors.

    The app, which has been used by 15,000 U.S. soldiers so far, focuses on five key goals: weight management, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and resilience. The latter marks a combination of stress management and reduction, mood and anxiety modification and mindfulness training, which can play a key role in overall wellness and the ability to meet certain health goals.

    “Honing your resilience is especially important while everyone figures out how to cope and thrive in a time of perpetual uncertainty,” says Dr. Tiffany Stewart, director of Pennington’s Behavior Technology Lab. Scientists in Stewart’s lab are designing the upgraded consumer version to include:

    • Artificial intelligence technology that tailors coaching to the individuals, making it easier to use and helping consumers stick to their daily action plans;
    • A community connection that pulls together users with similar goals;
    • Enhanced strategies for resilience.

    The app allows users to create, log, track and improve their health and performance habits with personalized workouts and instructions, custom reminders and personalized advice from experts. It also lets users choose from dietitian-created meal plans, create grocery lists and track sleep patterns.