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Video: Gov't spent $400,000 to send text messages to Latino men

Washington Free Beacon reporter Liz Harrington appeared on Fox Business Wednesday to discuss her story detailing how the federal government has spent more than $400,000 sending text messages to Latino men to encourage them to exercise.

Washington Free Beacon reporter Liz Harrington appeared on Fox Business Wednesday to discuss her story detailing how the federal government has spent more than $400,000 sending text messages to Latino men to encourage them to exercise.

“This is really the latest fad of behavioral scientists who get funding from the National Institutes of Health,” Harrington told host Ashley Webster on Varney & Company.

Harrington said the fad was the belief that “if we can just send text messages we can get drunks to stop drinking, smokers to stop smoking, and now overweight Latino men to start exercising.”

She explained how the University of California, San Diego received federal funding to conduct a study in which researchers “recruit about 60 Mexican American men, enroll them for six months giving them information, and then sending them text message reminders to hit the gym.”

She added that the grant for the project described the study as a “low-cost intervention,” which ended up costing $406,875 of taxpayer money.

Both Harrington and Webster described the study as ironic because it requires texting overweight men to remind them to workout while society generally frowns upon “fat shaming.”

“There are so many studies that have this idea if we just send a text message we can change peoples’ behavior … this is just the latest example,” Harrington added, saying this is one piece of a larger trend in science.

Harrington’s full story can be viewed here.