Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

From Data to ACTive lifestyle in Wheelchair users (D-ACT-Wheel)

Making the Virtuagym e-platform suitable for wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury or lower limb amputation.

2017 - 2021
Wessel Kraaij

Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Reade centre for rehabilitation and rheumatology Amsterdam,
Leiden University, University of Campinas São Paulo, University Medical Centre Groningen, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam and Digifit B.V. Amsterdam


Physical inactivity, excessive weight and low vitality are common issues among wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury or lower limb amputation. Digital interventions and lifestyle applications help them to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, such interventions and applications are often ill-suited to wheelchair users. The lifestyle applications do not take into account the mobility restrictions, body composition and increased chance of injury of wheelchair users. The project D-ACT-Wheel provides input to make the Virtuagym e-platform suitable for the wheelchair-bound.

Researchers of the D-ACT-Wheel project combine different datasets from completed studies and various lifestyle apps. Analysing all this data creates new knowledge about factors that influence the lifestyles, body compositions and health of wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury or lower limb amputation. Using machine learning and statistical analysis, the research team analyses lifestyle and fitness data of people both with and without physical disabilities.


The developers of Virtuagym adapt the e-platform according to the results of the D-ACT project. The D-ACT research team evaluates the adapted platform after the wheelchair users have used Virtuagym for a certain length of time. Based on their experiences, the developers improve the platform.

What do the researchers look at in their evaluation?

  1. Changes in lifestyle and health (both among wheelchair users and non-wheelchair users).
  2. Factors explaining the individual differences in lifestyle or health changes.
  3. Factors affecting the transition between an inactive lifestyle, an active lifestyle and competitive sports.
  4. Differences between wheelchair users and general users.
  5. Differences between Dutch and Brazilian users of the e-platform.

The intervention study with the E-health app is performed by PhD Candidate Dirk Hoevenaars. The data science analysis tasks are executed by postdoc Iris Yocarini. Prof. Thomas Janssen (VU) is PI of the project, prof. Wessel Kraaij (LIACS) and dr. Jasmijn Holla (InHolland) are co-PI’s.

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