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Today is the start of the European Public Health Week. The overarching topic of this year is: Health is a political choice. From a political perspective, there is a lot to be done to improve the health of individuals.
Furthermore, there are several beneficial technological tools available for personal use to maintain good health.

Why you need to know this:

The European Public Health Week is an initiative by The European Public Health Association to raise awareness about public health.

Global health issues aren’t mainly about science; they’re also about politics, economics, and society. In the Netherlands, a lot needs to be done in order to make the country healthier from a top-down perspective. The Dutch government’s efforts to address obesity and malnutrition have not yielded the desired results thus far. On the contrary, the environment appears to be becoming unhealthier. There are more fast-food restaurants than ever before.

Though there’s much to be accomplished politically, individuals can also take steps to maintain their health. In certain instances, leveraging technology can be advantageous. Here are three innovative technological solutions.

Bad habit #1: Smoking

Whoever wants to quit smoking, might research VR therapy. The research from the Open Universiteit highlights a groundbreaking approach to smoking cessation. By simulating real-world scenarios where smoking is common, such as cafes or bus stops, VR therapy immerses individuals in environments that provoke cravings. This method allows for controlled exposure that helps manage and ultimately reduces the urge to smoke. The immersive nature of VR proves crucial in its success, offering a promising tool for those struggling with quitting smoking.

Bad habit #2: Stressing too much

Research shows us that chronic stress is associated with six primary causes of death, which include heart disease, cancer, lung diseases, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. But when it comes to relaxing, music might come in handy.

The Dutch startup AlphaBeats has developed a technology that integrates neurofeedback with personal music choices to encourage relaxation. By using an EEG headband that monitors brain activity, the system adjusts the music in real time, promoting a calm mental state. This method not only helps in reducing stress but also assists in breaking the cycle of stress-induced habits like smoking.

Bad habit #3: Lack of sleep

Sleep is one of the key aspects of our health. Better make sure we will get at least eight hours every night. Sleep Cycle, a renowned app, utilizes technology to enhance sleep quality. By analyzing sleep patterns and determining optimal waking times, it helps users wake up feeling more refreshed. The app’s ability to connect to smart home devices further personalizes the waking experience, potentially reducing the desire for morning cigarettes, a common issue for smokers. This tool exemplifies how integrating technology into everyday life can support health goals.