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A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a myriad of health and nutritional benefits. Although the use of digital nudging concepts to improve health behaviors are popular in other countries, in Sri Lanka, such research is scanty.
To evaluate the effectiveness and acceptance of a text and email messaging digital nudging concept named ‘5-a Day Punch’ to improve fruit and vegetable consumption among young adults.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
Young adults (n = 91, age 18-30), were conveniently selected and later randomly divided into two groups as intervention (int) and control (cnt), based on equal gender and age distribution. Then a 4-week ‘5-a Day Punch’ with two messages per week was assigned to the int group while the cnt group only received a brochure containing the same messages in the first week of the study.
Pre and post fruit and vegetable consumption patterns were identified in both groups using a pretested computer-based Food Frequency Questionnaire.
Before the nudge, participants had consumed a mean 230.5g and 251.8g of total fruits and vegetables per day in the int group (fruits; 111.2g, vegetables; 119.3g) and cnt group (fruits; 103.6g, vegetables; 148.2g) respectively. After the nudge, the amounts consumed changed to, 340.5g per day and 309.4g per day respectively (int group: fruits; 172.5g, vegetables; 168.0g/ cnt group: fruits; 113.6g, vegetables; 195.8g). Though no greater change in mean fruit and vegetable consumption per day (P = 0.15) was reported, the nudging resulted in greater fruit consumption (P = 0.029) in the int group compared to their counterparts. The majority (int group) 84.4% (38/45) accepted text and email messaging have prompted them to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet.
Text and email messaging appear to be an acceptable and effective way to promote healthy behaviors among young adults.
© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.