Our Views: The texts of health

Because Louisiana is ground zero of the obesity epidemic in the nation, it is not unusual to find another study on how to deal with the habits that can lead to diabetes or early death. God knows we’re flush with material — subjects for studies.

At LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, a new clinical trial will focus on the effects of physical activity and lifestyle changes. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study will provide participants weekly reminders about exercise and health by text messages, email or — almost a quaint touch — regular postal mail.

The study will assess how those work and whether different “interventions,” including seminars at Pennington, can improve participants’ health.

Two of Pennington’s prominent scientists, Tim Church and Corby Martin, are principal investigators.

What can encourage people to exercise or eat healthier? With the proliferation of smartphones and other devices, perhaps relatively inexpensive means can be found to nudge people toward healthier living day to day.