US soldiers, family members, and veterans have had exclusive access to a smartphone app they used to improve sleeping, eating, exercising, and stress, until now.

The same scientists who created the military app “MyH.E.A.L.T.H.” for the US Department of Defense were given the go-ahead to complete a new consumer version for 2021 release with the support of a recent $75,000 LSU LIFT (Leveraging Technology for Innovation) grant from the LSU Board of Supervisors.

“The app is unique in that it takes a ‘whole-health’ strategy in addressing performance,” says Tiffany Stewart, PhD, director of the Behavior Technology Lab at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in a release. “The app has also been tested thoroughly by roughly 15,000 soldiers—a group that has to be physically fit, and at the same time also endure significant challenges and a tremendous amount of daily stress.”

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The app focuses on five key goals: weight management, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and resilience. Resilience is a combination of stress management and reduction, mood and anxiety modification, and mindfulness training, which Stewart said can play a big role in overall wellness and the ability to meet key health goals.

“Honing your resilience is especially important while everyone figures out how to cope and thrive in a time of perpetual uncertainty,” Stewart says.

Scientists in Stewart’s lab are designing the upgraded consumer version to include:

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

“This app distills 30 years of obesity research and military science into a powerful tool that can help anyone improve their health,” said Pennington Biomedical executive director John Kirwan, PhD, in a release. “MyH.E.A.L.T.H. represents one of Pennington Biomedical’s major goals: to take science from the lab and put it to use in the community.”

MyH.E.A.L.T.H will allow users to:

  • Optimize sleep habits with sleep tracking. Identify patterns in sleep behavior and make changes to improve health and daily well-being.
  • Create, log, track and improve their health and performance habits with personalized workouts and instructions, custom reminders, and personalized expert advice.
  • Choose dietitian-created meal plans that fit their caloric prescription and help users stick to nutrition goals.
  • Create grocery lists for upcoming meals to streamline shopping.