Text Messages Could Encourage Teens To Adopt Healthy Habits

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Text messages that promote healthy lifestyles using an active voice could help improve the nutritional and physical habits of teenagers, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 1/15). 

Study Details

For the study, University of Arizona researchers recruited 117 adolescents ages 12 to 18 who were enrolled in youth programs between fall 2009 and fall 2010.

The researchers organized focus groups, classroom discussions and an eight-week pilot study to explore the most effective content, format, origin and delivery of health-related text messages (Slabodkin, FierceMobileHealthcare, 1/18).

Study Findings

The researchers found that adolescents favored health-related text messages that:

  • Were written in an active voice;
  • Referenced teens;
  • Recommended specific achievable habits; and
  • Were sent by nutrition professionals (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 1/15).

The teens also said that they would prefer to receive no more than two health-related text messages per day (FierceMobileHealthcare, 1/18).

Comments on Findings

Study author Melanie Hingle said that new age-appropriate, teen-focused programs are needed to reduce obesity among adolescents.

She added that the popularity of smartphones among teens suggests that the devices are an ideal way to encourage adolescents to adopt healthier habits (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 1/15).


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