CPSTF Recommends Digital Health Interventions to Increase Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

A mobile phone sits on a table near fruits and vegetables.The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends digital health and telephone interventions in community settings, worksites, and institutions of higher education to increase healthy eating and physical activity among adults interested in improving these behaviors. The recommendations are based on systematic reviews of evidence that were specific to each setting and showed favorable results.

What are digital health and telephone interventions?

These interventions aim to increase healthy eating and physical activity by using websites, mobile apps, text messages, emails, or one-on-one telephone calls. Interventions vary by setting and include a combination of coaching or counseling with trained professionals, self-monitoring to record health behaviors, goal setting, computer-generated feedback that provides tailored information, or educational resources. Some also include social support from peers or motivational strategies such as incentives, rewards, and gaming techniques.

Why is this important?

Eating well and being physically active lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Healthy eating and regular physical activity also enhance immunity and reduce healthcare expenses. Yet only 12% of adults eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables daily, and half of U.S. adults get the recommended amounts of physical activity.

Almost all adults in America (96%) own a mobile phone of some kind, and 81% of adults own a smartphone. While steps may be taken to ensure equitable access to mobile phones, this approach expands the availability of services and resources to help increase healthy behaviors.

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