Do you work with college students? Perhaps adding “nudges” to your training toolbox can improve their health habits.

According to a national study facilitated by the University of Florida, regular email nudges to exercise or consume more fruits and vegetables may encourage healthy behaviors among students. The Young Adults Eating and Active for Health (YEAH) study involved 1,639 college students who received either 21 mini educational lessons/emails or no messages at all. Nudges featured information on nutrition, physical activity, and stress and weight management. Primary measures were weight, BMI, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity and stress levels. Researchers also looked at waist circumference, sleep, dietary fat, servings of whole grains, and more.

At the end of the 3-month intervention, there were no differences in BMI, weight and waist circumference between the groups. Researchers did see modest improvements in fruit and veggie intake, physical activity levels and hours of sleep within the experimental group.

“Although there were no differences between experimental and control participants in weight change or BMI, the intervention supported positive change in behaviors that may mediate excessive weight gain, such as increasing fruit and vegetable intake and more healthful self-regulation mealtime behaviors immediately post-intervention,” explained the authors.

What strategies do you use to bolster your clients’ adherence to healthful living? Send your insights to [email protected]

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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