Use Text Reminders To Encourage Healthier Eating

Sending yourself quick habit-based text messages can promote healthy day-to-day eating, a new Australian study has found. Messages such as "eat a piece of fruit for morning tea each day" help to focus habit forming behaviour, which means you're a lot more likely to stick to it.

Healthy phone picture from Shutterstock

To determine the effectiveness of a habit-based intervention delivered by e-mail or sms, researchers from the University of Western Australia sent a range of messages to 71 undergraduates relating to fruit and vegetable consumption. Habit-based messages, food-group messages and general healthy eating messages were included in the eight week trial.

The study found that vegetable consumption increased significantly over the intervention period across all text message types, with habit-based messages proving the most effective:

A significant message content by time interaction indicated that the habit-based intervention improved fruit consumption over the eight-week period. Vegetable consumption significantly increased over the intervention period regardless of message content. Delivery method [text message or email] did not influence these results.

The report concludes that messages based on a habit framework can be utilised to improve fruit consumption in young adults. In other words, if you're finding it hard to stick to healthy food choices, scheduling a series of daily reminders could prove surprisingly effective.

[Via Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health]


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