NHS Stoke hopes to tackle obesity with cost-effective SMS service

NHS Stoke will look to support local residents in their battles against obesity by delivering words of encouragement via SMS, reports bbc.co.uk.

The health service spends £50 million per year in providing support for weight-related illness and is now looking for more cost-effective methods of delivering advice.

One of its newest projects is an SMS service which will cost just £10,000 to deploy. This will include the setting up of the project as well as the cost to send each text which, according to ppdcomputing.co.uk, could be significantly lower than usual if the NHS has agreed a bulk sending package.

Some examples of the type of messages sent to people who sign up include ‘use the stairs more’, ‘keep a check on snacks and drinks’ and ‘eat fruit and veg’.

While the NHS Stoke has made no secret of the fact that SMS support services are a highly cost-effective technique, cabinet member for health Adrian Knapper says there’s every chance the initiative could bear fruit.

“On average it costs the same amount £10,000 to perform just one intervention operation to help people manage their weight,” he commented. “Our programme means people who already want to lose weight and have signed up with us to get support will receive a cheap and effective nudge to keep them motivated.”