A bunch of Scottish males has misplaced weight due to a venture which despatched them textual content messages from fictional characters.
Over 200 males took half within the Sport of Stones research which explored whether or not digital storytelling and monetary incentives may have a optimistic affect on their well being.
The digital storytelling intervention was designed and written by Dr Mark Grindle, a digital well being researcher on the College of the Highlands and Islands.
Dr Grindle, a former movie and TV author and producer who labored on programmes together with Dr Finlay and Take the Excessive Highway, devised a set of characters who texted contributors over a twelve-month interval.
The story centered round Slim, an chubby man who overcomes the unfavorable influences in his life to drop a few pounds and acquire confidence.
The research additionally explored using monetary incentives. Members got £400 and will preserve the cash in the event that they misplaced weight. Researchers discovered that larger weight reduction occurred for contributors who acquired each the textual content messages and incentives.
The research, which was funded by the Nationwide Institute for Well being Analysis, reported that contributors misplaced a median of three per cent of their physique weight over the course of the trial.
Dr Grindle stated: “Storytelling has been used to vary human behaviour for millennia. Now we use digital applied sciences to inform tales and this engages contributors at ever deeper emotional ranges.
“It was wonderful what number of contributors texted Slim again as if he have been an actual particular person. They shared their very own experiences of losing a few pounds with him. This advised us that the strategy was working. Members picked up on the ability and potential of the underlying well being behaviour change strategy. It’s about emotional and sometimes non-conscious engagement.”
One participant who took half within the research defined: “It is like having a buddy who’s in the identical boat, and also you’re each making an attempt to attain the identical factor. And that is at all times useful.”
The Sport of Stones idea will now be trialled on a bigger scale. If it continues to offer optimistic outcomes it’s hoped the service could possibly be rolled out throughout the UK.
Dr Grindle is engaged on a variety of different well being and wellbeing initiatives which make use of the digital storytelling strategy.
These embrace a digital actuality intervention which makes use of interplay with wild animal characters to assist weak younger individuals in rural areas of 5 low to center revenue international locations, a cell phone app to extend resilience in frontline well being and social care workers and assist them address the psychological well being impacts of Covid-19 and a digital instrument to assist adolescents with long run psychological well being issues.
The total research report, Textual content messaging and monetary incentives to encourage weight reduction in males with weight problems: the Sport of Stones feasibility RCT, is on the market on the Nationwide Institute for Well being Analysis web site.
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