Latest research has shown that shopping vouchers and online social networks may be powerful, modern tools to help people quit smoking and lose weight. It was seen that pregnant women who were promised vouchers were much likelier than non-rewarded peers to kick the smoking habit; and people shed more kilos the more online friendships they formed with fellow weight-watchers.
The Scottish study offered 612 pregnant smokers in Glasgow, free nicotine replacement therapy and professional quitting aid. Half the volunteers were also promised 400 pounds (534 euros or $607) in the form of shopping vouchers. Participants were offered a first voucher of 50 pounds for showing up for a meeting with a professional and setting a quit date, another 50 pounds for not smoking for four weeks, another 100 pounds for 12 weeks and 200 pounds at 34-38 weeks. Saliva or urine tests were used to confirm their abstinence from cigarettes. Significantly more of the voucher recipients stopped smoking, 69 out of the first group of 306, compared to 26 from the non-rewarded half. This study paper is published in The BMJ.
In a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers studied more than 2,000 people who joined an online weight management (OWM) social networking site. After six months, it was seen that people with a single contact reported having lost on average 4.1 percent of initial body weight, rising to 5.2 percent for those with two to nine friends. The figure rose further to 6.8 percent for those with a bigger group of contacts, and a whopping 8.3 percent for those with the highest connectivity.
Both the studies found innovative and cost-effective ways of tackling lifestyle behaviors that are inflicting an ever-heavier toll in lives lost and healthcare costs around the world.