WASHINGTON: Mobile phone text messages can help young adults reduce binge drinking by over 50 percent, a new study indicates.
Young adults in the US who screened positive for a history of hazardous or binge drinking halved their binge drinking after receiving mobile phone text messages following a visit to the emergency department.
"The hospitals provide a unique setting to screen young adults for drinking problems and to engage with them via their preferred mode of communication to reduce future use," said Brian Suffoletto from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine.
During the study, researchers enrolled 765 young adult emergency patients with a history of hazardous drinking.
For 12 weeks, one-third received text messages prompting them to respond to drinking-related queries and received text messages in return for offering feedback on their answers.
The group receiving text messages decreased their self-reported binge drinking days by 51 percent and decreased the number of self-reported drinks per day by 31 percent.
"We need to intervene in a meaningful way in the health and habits of people when they are young," Suffoletto added.
The study was published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.