Text Message System Can Help People Lose Weight

Stoke-on-Trent wants to help its residents slim down with friendly reminders.

Roughly 70,000 adults in the city of Stoke-on-Trent are classed as obese, which costs the local NHS around $81 million a year trying to treat weight-related illness. The city council wants to try a cheaper approach, and send obese residents motivational messages such as “Use the stairs more”, “Eat fruit and veg” and “Keep a check on snacks and drinks.”

The 10-week project is expected to cost £10,000 and will be available to 500 people who sign up with the council. Cabinet member for health Adrian Knapper said: “On average it costs the same amount [£10,000] to perform just one intervention operation to help people manage their weight.”

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Some people, including the conservative councillor Abi Brown, believe the money could be better spent elsewhere. As reported by the BBC, she said: “If the money went to community groups it could be used to support people losing weight but also for other projects.” How effective the project will be is another important question; one who will consider signing up said the messages might turn into nagging, adding the fact that “I’ve already got my wife to do that.”

Many of the principles behind weight loss are simple, it’s just enforcing them that’s the hard part. Phil O’Connell, a fellow of Staffordshire University‘s health faculty, said the project was “pioneering.” He also believes it’s a good use of money and will help people “before they reach the stage of needing massively expensive treatment for a range of obesity-related problems including diabetes, cancer, heart disease and disability.”

Source: BBC

Images: BBC, FBellon

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