Two agencies at the U.S. National Institutes of Health are trying to find out if modern technology and gadgets can aid weight loss, especially in young adults. According to HealthDay.com, they are launching trials to test how text messaging, social networking, wireless internet and similar features can help young people to balance their weight and maintain an optimal fitness level.
The plan is to aid young adults to maintain an ideal body weight during their transition from adolescence to adulthood. Adolescence is a very important stage of ones life, as any weight gain or bad health behavior, assimilated during ones teenage years, will influence ones development and future adulthood. Studies have proved that, the majority of overweight teenagers will remain overweight or will become obese later in life. More, if you accustom yourself with working out and performing fitness exercises in your adolescence you will be more likely to continue your routine during adulthood.
The means used for achieving this goal are the modern day gadgets. Technology such as internet, blue-tooth, WiFi corroborated with smartphones, computers and notebooks should aid weight loss. We all know that all the above mentioned devices are one of the main sources of childhood obesity. With most of the children and teenagers spending several hours a day at the computer, in front of the TV or talking on the phone there is no wonder that the obesity numbers are on a constant rise.
Dr. Susan B. Shurin, acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, one of the agencies involved in the trials mentioned above, claims:
“These studies are designed to provide evidence to help us guide young adults toward approaches that work and allow them to choose the options that work best for them.”
The study is called ‘Early Adult Reduction of Weight Through Lifestyle Intervention trials’, will feature members between 18 and 35 years of age and will aim to promote a weight management using a healthy lifestyle.
Now let’s check what approaches they are planning to test:
– The use of iPod Touch, webinars and podcasts to deliver a behavioral weight-loss program to young adults trying to quit smoking.
– Internet-based programs to promote the health of pregnant women and new mothers.
– A for-credit course that includes Web-based social networking to prevent weight gain in college students.
– The use of text message reminders and wearable exercise monitors to improve a weight-loss program.
– Behavioral intervention using cell phones, Facebook and the Internet.
Honestly, this is not what I would have expected! I doubt that just informing young people about how to lose weight and how to live healthy will be enough. When you want to combine modern day technology and gadgets with weight loss, you can’t just think about using the technology to inform people about how to implement weight management, especially when you target teenagers and young adults. This group of people is widely open to using gadgets. I think that much better results could be obtained by creating some gadgets that will effectively aid weight loss and not just inform people about it. Here are just some simple ideas that might have a lot more success than the approaches presented above:
1. Sneakers with embedded pedometers which should count the steps performed by a teenager. Once back from school or from the practice ground, the pedometer embedded in the sneakers should be able to communicate (using blue-tooth or wireless technology) with all electronic devices such as TV’s, computers or game consoles. Those devices should be able to convert the amount of steps recorded during the day in hours of play-time. Once the awarded time expires, all the devices should automatically shutdown. Imagine that all kids will be encouraged to spend their free time playing and accumulating steps in order to be able to use their gadgets!
2. Cars that would refuse to start if you missed your visit at your local gym station. This could be implemented using your cars navigation system and the GPS (Global Positioning System) and would be a great solution to constrain young adults to workout.
3. Smartphones that would refuse to dial if you fail to complete your daily treadmill routine and many other similar stuff that would constrain young people to exercise and eat healthy daily, instead of just informing them how to exercise and manage their weight!
If you have any other motivational ideas which could aid weight loss with the help of technology, do not hesitate to comment upon this article and share your thoughts.