How mobile phones could rescue us from obesity

By Maria Kyriacou

Image: Thinkstock
Image: Thinkstock
New study finds mobile phones could improve the health of young people

We’re often made to feel bad for spending time on our phones, and with ever more features it’s inevitable that we are spending more time glued to them than ever. Now it seems there’s a very positive, guilt-free reason to get on our mobiles.

According to new research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, mobile phones could be the answer to stopping weight gain, and improving the health of young Australians overall.

Researchers have been hard at work designing a never before seen mobile phone intervention for young people at risk of obesity.

The lead researcher at the University’s Faculty of Science, Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli said that young people are the lowest consumers of fresh fruit and vegetables, tending to survive on a diet of take-away food.

“We know that weight gained in young adulthood often persists throughout later life, vastly increasing the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” she said. “Intervening early could therefore have an enormous impact on the global obesity crisis.”

By making use of a mobile phone app, text messages, emails, personalised coaching calls and diet resources participants in the program were able to lose weight and increase their physical activity. It also emerged they’d consumed more vegetables and less sugar-laden drinks.

At the end of the program, the intervention group was 2.2kg lighter than the control group, and consumed more vegetables, fewer sugary soft drinks, and fewer energy-dense takeaway meals. They also increased their total physical activity.

“The results of the study show the effectiveness and importance of designing interventions specifically for young people, rather than relying on a one size fits all model,” Professor Allman-Farinelli said.

The research was published in JMIR mhealth and uhealth.

Do you think  this obesity busting APP could help you lose weight?Or are you more likely to be distracted by social media?



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