The UK's number of obese people is on the rise, and is set to cause quite a strain on the NHS if something isn't done to prevent it. Taking a slightly-unorthodox (if forward-thinking) approach is Stoke-on-Trent council. It is hoping the power of the text message will get people up, out and exercising.
Described as an "early intervention", the £10,000 scheme (at a cost of £20 per head for the 500 people it covers) sees participants sent motivational messages directly to their phones. It is hoped to encourage positive attitudes towards healthy eating and exercise (without having to divert too many people-resources from the NHS), highlighting the steps to take that would prevent the need for expensive weight-loss surgery further down the line.
I have to wonder how exactly messages like "eat slightly smaller portions" and "maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often" will inspire any mammoth life changes -- you can be certain that the 500 people taking part are already fully aware of what needs to be done to shed the pounds. But this £10,000 project is a far-more cost-effective way of informing those struggling with their weight than needing doctors to state the obvious in person. [BBC via The Verge]