by Xandra van Megen
Rising star Jos Kraal is a tenure tracker in a 4TU project called “The pride and prejudice”. The project is focused on lifestyle change to prevent chronic diseases by improving nutrition and exercise. In this consortium designers, psychologists, human movement scientists, ethicists and engineers are working together to create exciting and effective health and lifestyle interventions to change behavior.
Kraal says: “Nowadays there are quite a lot of health and lifestyle interventions, it is a booming industry. Some of the interventions are effective, others are not. Most of the interventions only work partly or are suitable for a small group of people. There is still no clear recipe for each intervention to make sure it works for everyone in every situation. Within the project we are looking for solutions to this challenging problem. There is a lot of potential and that makes this project interesting.”
There is still no clear recipe for each intervention to make sure it works for everyone in every situation.
Effective health interventions
“Within the project, we will combine sensor technology to measure behavior with design interventions at different levels of the system, such as the personal level, social level and environmental level. We expect to develop a lot of knowledge about how you should set up an effective health intervention to promote exercise and to promote healthy eating to prevent chronic diseases.”
Set up an effective health intervention to promote exercise and to promote healthy eating to prevent chronic diseases.
The assistant professor position fitted completely with Kraal’s own vision and background. He studied Human Movement Sciences in Amsterdam and Public Health in Maastricht, followed by a PhD in medical informatics in Amsterdam and Maxima MC in Eindhoven. At Maxima MC he continued to work after his PhD as projectleader in digital health innovation. During his career healthcare was always a central theme. “I want to help people and I want to be meaningful. So much can be improved for people who are sick or have a disability, and even for healthy people, ”explains Kraal.
So much can be improved for people who are sick or have a disability, and even for healthy people.
Kraal’s goal is to set up a research group within the industrial design faculty with several levels of research; master students, PhDs and postdocs. “This research group should expand in the coming years so that behavioral change within the health sector becomes a larger theme within the department.
“The atmosphere at the TU Delft is good. Here you see the coolest things in the hall and students are enthusiastically working on projects,” says Kraal.