Healthy Cities: Tracking Population Health from Grocery Bags and Smart Watches

author: Daniele Quercia, University of Cambridge
published: July 19, 2019,   recorded: June 2019,   views: 15
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We will see how to aggregate both readings from consumer wearable devices and records of food purchases to track people’s well-being at scale. From 11,600 Nokia Health wearables, we collected readings of steps, sleep, and heart rate in the entire cities of London and San Francisco over the course of 1 year. Christmas and New Year’s eve were associated only with short-lived and minor disruptions, while both Brexit and Trump’s election greatly impacted people’s sleep and even heart rates. Then, for another entire year in London, we studied the association between food purchases in grocery stores, as measured by the digital traces of customer loyalty cards, and consumption of medicines. Our results show that analytics of digital records of grocery purchases can be used as a cheap and scalable tool for health surveillance: the distribution of the food nutrients is far more predictive of food-related illnesses (e.g., diabetes) than socio-economic conditions.

Professor of Urban Informatics at King’s College London, Department Head at Nokia Bell Labs, and co-founder of GoodCityLife.org, Daniele Quercia is a computer scientist, named one of Fortune magazine’s 2014 Data All-Stars. His research in the area of urban computing has been published in leading venues including ICSE, Ubicomp, ICDM, CSCW, RecSys, WSDM, and WWW, received honorable mentions from AAAI ICWSM, and has been featured on La Repubblica, The Independent, New Scientist, Le Monde, and BBC. He spoke at TEDx Barcelona and Falling Walls Berlin, and wrote for BBC. He was Research Scientist at Yahoo Labs, a Horizon senior researcher at The Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, and Postdoctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from UC London. His thesis was sponsored by Microsoft Research Cambridge and was nominated for BCS Best British PhD dissertation in Computer Science. During his PhD, he was MBA Technology Fellow at London Business School.

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Download slides icon Download slides: eswc2019_quercia_healthy_cities_01.pdf (14.1 MB)


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