Recently an innovative, teenage-focused experiment was conducted in the state of Ohio that proved successful in managing juvenile diabetes. Teenagers who participated in the study received personalized text messages on their cell phones reminding them to take their medication. The reminder reduced the likelihood of teenagers skipping a dose by three times, keeping their diabetes and health care costs under control. According to the study, the creator of the text message application is also attempting to design an iPhone application that would “allow endocrinologists to send automated, personalized texts to several patients at a certain time.”
As I read the article, I pondered the idea of sending text messages to obese children reminding them to eat healthy, exercise often, and drink plenty of water. Nutritious food suggestions could be sent to their cell phones during breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours. Messages displaying alternatives to fast food restaurants, transportation, and sedentary activities are all types of applications that we can use to combat childhood obesity. The juvenile diabetes study has opened doors for us to think creatively about applying technology to gain the attention of the most important group found in addressing obesity – the young patients.