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Would You Partake In A Text Messaging Diet? Study Shows It Works

When Behavioral Goals Are Tracked There's More Pressure To Follow Through

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Can a text message actually help you lose weight?

New research says, yes, it can, but it all depends on what the message says, CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported Monday.

When people keep track of their diet and exercise habits they do better at losing weight, researchers say. But how many people are actually doing it?

“I tried for like a week and that didn’t work. I forgot after a while,” Stephanie Joseph said.

“I have but not for a super long period of time,” Ariel Arbisser said.

Researchers at Duke University say texting is now the way to go if you want to successfully log and lose the pounds.

“It’s easy. It’s portable. It allows for two-way communication really easily and really quickly,” said researcher Dori Steinberg.

They conducted a survey with 26 obese women and found that after six months those who texted as part of the “shape plan” weight loss intervention lost nearly three pounds. While another 24 women who followed traditional methods actually gained weight.

It works like this: The daily texts track tailored behavioral goals and give feedback and tips.

It asks to: “Please text yesterday’s number of steps — number of sugary drinks and if you watched more than two hours of television.”

The person texted their numbers and then received a response: “Your score is a 7. You’re doing better than yesterday. Keep up the good work. Try adding lemon to your water.”

“This type of way of tracking your diet, tracking your exercise habits could have really broad reach as a way to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Steinberg said.

So would women try it?

“I probably wouldn’t,” Daniella Spencer said.

“It’s an instant reminder. I check my texts all the time,” Arbisser added.

“I feel like that would be more convenient. Maybe I would try it,” Joseph said.

When it comes to convenience, it doesn’t get more convenient than your cellphone, which is always in our hands as it is, Gainer reported.

The study primarily focused on helping obese black women lose weight, since researchers say about 59 percent are obese and many use cellphones.

There’s more information on this study in the online edition of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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