In a world of instant communication, more people rely on text messaging now than ever before. While text messaging proves to be a convenient way of connecting, continuous studies are showing that it can also be beneficial to our health.
A Global Study
Mobile phones could hold the key to giving the boot to the butt. Sending smokers simple text messages, such as, “You can do it!” or “Be strong,” has enabled them to kick the habit, according to recent research.
A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who received these inspiring messages were more likely to abstain from smoking. Using meta-analysis, a statistical method for combining results from independent studies, researchers tracked 20 manuscripts and 22 text messaging interventions for smoking cessation from 10 countries around the world.
The short message service, also known as SMS messaging, provided reminders, support, and health education facts via short written texts. This technique can be customized to fit an individual’s personal needs or unique environment. The researchers behind this study recommended that text messaging intervention to help smokers quit become a public health priority.
Helping Double the Rate of Quitters
Another study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and funded by the Medical Research Council, concluded that motivational and supportive text messages sent to smokers could double quit rates at six months. Published in The Lancet in 2011, the study scrutinized the long-term effects of specifically designed text messages by testing the levels of a chemical found in tobacco, cotinine, that can be found in a participant’s saliva.
More than 5,800 smokers were randomly allocated to the text messaging program or a control group. The SMS group received five text messages daily for the first five weeks, followed by three per week for the next four months. The personalized system allowed people to receive texts during times of need by texting the word “crave” or “lapse.”
The researchers found that the text messages worked across all ages and social groups. Moreover, the SMS group had double the rate of quitters during a six month period than the control group.
Mobile Healthcare Acceleration
Mobile technology is now becoming an increasingly popular platform for delivering support to help change health behaviors. No longer are people simply receiving text messages from friends, coworkers, or loved ones. They are also being engaged by big businesses for advertising purposes and can increase their health and wellbeing through mobile healthcare services.
People and businesses worldwide are experiencing the benefits of mobile technology. From having access to thousands of health-related applications to receiving supportive text messages to help quit smoking, mobile services are proving to be the way of the future when it comes to bettering lives.