Online Signals for Risk Factors of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

Pulse Lab New York

Project Description

Global Pulse is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) exploring how risk factors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, diet and physical activity) of non-communicable diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes, depression) could be inferred from big data sources as social media and online internet searches.

70% of the reduction in coronary mortality can be attributed to population level reductions in the risk factors. Traditionally, monitoring of NCD risk has been conducted by cross-sectional surveys of the population which are costly and time-consuming, providing only a snapshot at a point in time. Big data sources as social media could provide faster and cheaper information on risks on an ongoing basis. In an exploration project together with Microsoft Research, indices for each risk factor were built and tracked over time on Twitter data and internet search traffic for keywords such as ‘stop smoking’ were also analyzed.

This project and a broader perspective of the potential of Big Data for NCDs was explored at a WHO technical conference held in Tallinn, Estonia in September 2013.


Did you find this project interesting? Share it with your networks!

Below you can find our latest examples of our collaborative research, prototypes and experiments, where we analyse digital data to advance global development, support humanitarian action, and promote peace. For more, go to the research projects page.

Pulse Lab New York

UN Open GIS Initiative: Geo-AI Working Group

UN Global Pulse has joined the UN Open GIS Initiative as co-chair of a newly formed Geo-AI Working Group alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). UN Open GIS is

Scroll to Top