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Technological Interventions Merge Into Health and Fitness
Date:5/30/2008

New Methods Utilize Cell Phones, E-Mails, and Phone Calls

INDIANAPOLIS, May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although tracking blood glucose and steps taken per day through a cell phone sounds like something futuristic, researchers at the American College of Sports Medicine's 55th Annual Meeting say the technology could be on the market in the near future.

A research team led by Suyi Li, M.S., and Weimo Zhu, Ph.D., FACSM believe this is the first time the two devices -- step and glucose meters -- have been combined together in a mobile phone.

Glucose is measured by a micro-meter that uses normal blood testing procedures and can be plugged into the phone's serial port. The blood sugar level is then displayed on the screen, and is sent to a diabetes monitoring center through text messaging.

"The monitoring center automatically analyzes data sent by the cell phone user," Li said. "Tailored suggestions and feedback are then sent back to the user. It's certainly not a substitute for regular physician visits, but can potentially catch complications and provide some motivation for the user to work at getting their glucose levels on track."

Li says that although their team's innovation is currently just a prototype, she hopes the program will be available to the public within the next three to five years.

Another study took a different technological approach -- e-mail -- in an attempt to encourage sedentary young adults to become more physically active. Matthew Parrott, Ph.D., sent persuasive e-mail messages encouraging physical activity to 220 inactive adults 18-20 years old every other day for two weeks.

E-mails either contained only positive wording, or a combination of positive wording and positive images. Those shown positive-image messages reported an increase in time spent exercising, and a more receptive attitude to exercise.

"Many young adults spend a significant amount of time per day on the computer, che
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SOURCE American College of Sports Medicine
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