Text messages prove an effective way to boost healthy eating habits

SMS messages reminding people to eat a piece of fruit are an effective way of getting people to eat healthier, a new study shows.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia’s School of Psychology and School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health conducted an experiment on 71 undergraduates. Each student was only consuming 1.6 servings of fruit and 2.3 portions of vegetables a day, reports sundayworld.com.

Over a period of eight weeks, the researchers compared the effectiveness of three different types of electronic messages: habit-based, food-group and general healthy eating. These messages were sent via both email and text.

Habit-based messages proved to be particularly effective, as they encourage people to perform the same tasks every day. Fruit consumption improved among all the participants as a result. Vegetable consumption also improved, reports healthcanal.com.

Lead author, Christopher Rompotis, says the use of electronic media, such as SMS and email, could prove to be a great and cost-effective way to instil healthy habits into young people.

“What we showed is that messages emphasising repetitive, habitual behaviours were the most effective in improving fruit consumption in young adults, but simply reminding them to be conscious of their food choices may be enough to improve their overall vegetable consumption,” he explains.