- One million people were
sent phone texts about healthy living
- 40% increase in
healthy behavior was witnessed
- Increase in consumption of
fruits and vegetables
A message on
healthy lifestyle will promote better health and well being of an individual
and could improve prevention of diabetes
. Though this may seem too simple a solution to promote
health and to control diabetes, researchers from North Western University and
from Arogya, a non-Governmental Organization, have found that it could be true.
Diabetes in India
straddled under the weight of a considerable number of people suffering from
diabetes, with millions at high risk for the disease.
- Nearly 66 million people in India
suffer from diabetes
- 7.1% of the population suffer from
- Indian Americans have a four times higher risk of
developing diabetes when compared with Caucasians.
develop diabetes in their 30's and 40's, which is 10 years earlier than the
onset for Americans.
The study chose
a vast country like India where there were many people in the middle and low
income groups who would benefit from health based messages. Since India was
also highly prone to the development of diabetes, it would be an ideal testing
ground for a study that uses text messages to influence people. Mobile phones
are used extensively in India and thus messages would aid in reaching out to a
lot of people.
‘Reinforcing healthy behaviour through phone messages improves health.’
utilizes text messages from mobile phones to influence people's behavior.
Diabetes is largely considered to be a lifestyle disorder so the text messages
encouraged people to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise a lot more and to
eat less fat.
mDiabates initiative was responsible for sending the text messages in India and
it partnered with mobile company Nokia to send the messages during the year
2012-2013. The messages were sent in 12 different languages to people across
India and 2 messages were sent every week. One million people opted to receive
the messages and were also part of the study. The messages were sent for a
period of 6 months.
who is the founder and CEO of Arogya World said "Noncommunicable diseases,
one of the leading health and development challenges of the century, demand
simple, proven, cost-effective prevention solutions that can be easily deployed
at the population level. Our mDiabetes study suggests mobile health technology
is a smart solution and has broad implications for diabetes prevention at the
population level in low and middle-income countries."
of the Text Messages:
messages were developed by Emory University and were tailored to suit the needs
of the Indian population on receiving feedback.
The North Western University prepared the study design and were responsible for
the analysis. They found that people who received the messages became a lot
more health conscious than people who did not.
The study's lead
author Angela Fidler Pfammatter from the Northwestern University Feinberg
School of Medicine said "This shows the potential for even the most basic of
mobile phones to be used as a viable tool to deliver public health messages on
a large scale across a diverse population. And you just need a basic mobile
phone. This can make an impact."
The results of
the study were that there was improvement in healthy behavior in nearly 40%
more people among the group that received the SMS than among the control group.
Highlights of the Study
- Text messages improved the health
- A simple tool like mobile messages were
capable of lowering the risk for chronic diseases.