Study Finds Text Messaging Could Encourage Healthful Behavior in Children
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior finds mobile phone short message services can significantly improve adherence to regular healthy activities
New Haven, CT - December 15, 2008 - Text messaging is all the rage among children and teens with cell phones today. But although the increasingly popular tool is typically used as a quick way to contact friends socially, researchers are finding that short message services (SMS) might have other beneficial uses. The November issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior includes a study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill exploring the use of text messaging in encouraging and monitoring healthful behavior in children.
The study, which involved 58 children ages 5-13, found that short message reminders significantly decreased attrition and increased adherence to self-monitoring in regards to boosting physical activity while limiting screen time and sweetened beverages. The children were split into three groups for eight weeks: one group received no monitoring, one group self-monitored behaviors with text messaging and feedback, and one group self-monitored through paper diaries.
The children who used SMS to monitor their healthy behaviors had a 28 percent attrition rate compared with a 61 percent attrition rate in the paper diary group and a 50 percent attrition rate in the control group. The text messaging children also showed greater adherence to their self-monitoring plan, with 43 percent of the children sticking with their program compared to only 19 percent of the other two groups complying with their program.
"This study is yet another example that the health industry should embrace new advances in communication technology," said Kevin Aniskovich, Chief Executive of the healthcare information technology company Intelecare, which offers a text message medical reminder option to its subscribers.
"Increasing compliance is not going to be solved with a magic bullet and for those who are searching for it while doing nothing in the near term are doing patients a disservice; it is about enabling patient-driven services that can affect positive behavioral change. Starting with these basic building blocks may be just the answer for some," concluded Aniskovich.
In fact, market research giant The Nielson Company recently released figures from their measurement of billing activity of more than 50,000 consumers showing that the typical U.S. mobile subscriber now sends and receives more SMS messages (357 per month, on average) than they do placing or receiving mobile telephone calls (204 per month, on average).
The study concluded that SMS may be a useful tool for self-monitoring healthful behaviors of children in the future. General implications suggest that novel technologies, as they become more saturated in our everyday lives, may play an important role in improving health in patients and caregivers.
To read the study in full, please visit: http://www.jneb.org
Established in 2005, Intelecare Compliance Solutions is a privately owned healthcare information technology company that provides an array of practical tools and services promoting medical adherence. With 84 percent of patients reporting forgetfulness as the major cause of non-compliance, and with the healthcare system suffering over $300 billion in costs annually due to non-compliance, Intelecare's solutions enable patients and caregivers alike to keep track of medications, doses, and doctor's appointments through the phone, mobile devices, and email - all while keeping simplicity, practicality, and innovation at the heart of its developments.
Aside from individual end-user services, Intelecare provides and manages a suite of scalable services for insurers, employers, retail pharmacies, non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Currently supporting nearly three million subscribers, Intelecare is dedicated to finding functional solutions to the widespread issue of medical non-compliance for individuals around the world that work the way people live.
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*Intelecare is a trademark of Intelecare Compliance Solutions, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.