One text a week could improve your physique, doctors say

Weekly text messages which remind people of their daily recommended calorie intake could be the key to weight loss, health experts claim.

A new study by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US has found that listing calorie counts and other nutritional information on both restaurant menus and product packaging is often overlooked, as they are not fully understood, reports.

A weekly text message, however, was found to be far more effective for keeping diets on track. This could be particularly useful for doctors, physicians and other health professionals who have patients for which weight loss is crucial.

Some 246 US participants were used in the study, in which scientists assessed how much they knew about recommended calorie intakes. Participants were divided into three groups, and after four weeks those who had been getting the weekly texts were twice as likely to be able to identify their intake as the other groups.

Lawrence J Cheskin, the study’s lead author, believes that menu information and text messages must be combined.

“When people know they [sic] calorie budget for the day, they have context for making healthier meal and snack choices,” he said. “Ideally, these could work together, with calories posted on menus, restaurant signage and food labels, along with personal reminders delivered through the latest technology.”

It’s not the first time that text message-based diet techniques have been used. In 2013, Duke University ran trials and found that survey respondents who had received texts over six months had lost three pounds on average, whereas those who didn’t get the messages actually gained weight, reports.