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Text Messaging as a Tool for Behavior Change in Disease Prevention and Management

Posted on April 29, 2011 I Written By

Recently I posted a few different pieces about technology being used to help people quit smoking, lose weight, and even manage their diabetes.  A new study is showing how valuable text messaging can be when it comes to managing your health.  It is by far the most expansive study I have read and makes a lot of interesting points and logical conclusions.

One of the biggest advantages to text messaging is that it is already widely used, and it is extremely inexpensive to use.  This low cost allows organizations without major financial backing to use text messaging as a tool for their patients.  There is no need create a new device or develop expensive software.  You simply use text messaging to distribute the desired messages to your patients.

The study specifically referenced studies that showed how text messaging was beneficial to people that were trying to quit smoking by holding them accountable for their actions.  The same principle applied to people that were trying to lose weight.  Taking responsibility for your actions is a huge part of both of these issues, and using text messaging allowed the affected people to accept that responsibility.

Text messaging can also be used to help manage diseases such as diabetes by sending out reminders to the patients.  There are so many aspects to properly managing diabetes that getting helpful reminders can only be a good thing.

While the study doesn’t compare text messaging to other technology that can be used for managing our health it does an excellent job of analyzing the benefits of this inexpensive and widely used technology.  The numbers that they present are quite staggering in some areas, and it is definitely worth a look at the complete study.

Lit 2 Quit: Using Games to Help You Quit Smoking

Posted on April 17, 2011 I Written By

Smoking kills more Americans than anything else.  While the number of deaths has gone down it is still at the top of the list.  That may be why 70% of adult smokers want to quit, and 40% actually try each year. (World Health Organization, 2008)

That is why the Lit2Quit team is working to develop a mobile app to help people quit.

What they are trying to accomplish is the same physical sensations that smoking provides.  They are doing that by providing options suited for what you are looking for.

If you are looking to relax then the app provides you with a game that will help you slow down and relax.  If you are looking for the rush that smoking sometimes brings it presents you with a game that gets your heart and mind running.

One of the interesting aspects of this app is that it uses your breath as a game mechanic.  Through the microphone the app senses your breathing pattern and prompts you to either increase or decrease your breathing rate to achieve the desired feeling.

Research has shown that breath therapy can aid in quitting smoking, so this unique feature may be the difference in this app being successful.

While Lit2Quit is still being developed, another quit smoking app is claiming to already have success with helping people quit smoking.

An app called Nicot is based simply on the idea of crushing cigarettes.  In the game the player crushes cigarette butts to advance in the scenario.  Compared to grasping virtual balls, participants were 15% more likely to quit smoking when they were encouraged to crush cigarettes in the game.

While the developers also recognize the value of other methods of quitting they are convinced that their app will help.

The ideas behind these apps is incredibly simple, but sometimes it is something extremely simple that makes all the difference in the world.