“Nudges” May Motivate Students to Better Lifestyle

Posted 04/17/2015 | By HealthCorps

A recent national study by the University of Florida revealed that nudges through emails may inspire college students to exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables, and engage in healthier behaviors.  The YEAH (Young Adults Eating and Active for Health) study involved 1639 students, who either received mini emails with health suggestions and tips, or no messages at all. Nudges included helpful information on nutrition, exercise, BMI, produce consumption, stress and weight management.  Researchers assessed baseline and then post-message waist size, sleep, dietary fat, servings of whole grains, and other measures of health.

The results were quite interesting. At the end of the three month period, the researchers noted little differences between the two groups with regards to BMI, waist circumference and weight.  They did however note positive changes in the “message group,” in terms of increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, activity levels, and hours of sleep.  The authors of the study believe that these email messages may be a good strategy to improve health behaviors in older students, particularly college age.

If you struggle with exercise commitment, you can send yourself little message reminders to exercise, by adding your exercise time and other short reminders to your online calendar and then setting up reminder alarms.

Quick tip: Running daily may help to prevent osteoarthritis, rather than cause it (as previously thought).

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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