Internet, mobile technology encourage healthy lifestyle changes
According to the study, this technology is helping people to eat more nutritiously, stay physically active, decrease tobacco use, reduce alcohol intake and lose weight.
With these devices, people are much more likely to develop habits that are healthy when they have encouragement or assistance from the internet, health devices or cell phones.
“Both internet-based and mobile-based programs can help people become more physically active, eat better and achieve modest weight loss over 3-12 months,” Dr. Ashkan Afshin, lead study author and acting assistant professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, said.
Most studies that evaluate these technologies only last for six months. This makes it difficult to discern whether people will continue with these behavioral changes. However, this study lasted 23 years, showing the true benefits of technology for people’s health.
“Programs that have components such as goal-setting and self-monitoring and use multiple modes of communication with tailored messages tended to be more effective,” Afshin said. “We also found these programs were more effective if they included some interactions with health care providers. Clinicians, in particular in primary care settings, can use such programs to help people improve their lifestyle behaviors and reduce the risk of chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
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