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Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Jun;79(3):315-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.03.014. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Enhancement of care through self-monitoring and tailored feedback via text messaging and their use in the treatment of childhood overweight.

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  • 1University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany.



This paper first illustrates the general potential of the short message service (SMS) for symptom and behavior monitoring and the provision of tailored feedback. Second, an SMS-based maintenance treatment (SMSMT) is introduced aimed at enhancing the treatment of childhood overweight.


After a 12-week cognitive behavioral group treatment (CBGT), 40 children were assigned to the SMSMT for a period of 36 weeks. Children were asked to send weekly self-monitoring data on eating behavior, exercise behavior, and emotions and received tailored feedback. The adherence to SMSMT and changes in Body Mass Index Standard Deviation Scores (BMI-SDS) during the first and second treatment phase were analysed.


Children (mean age=10.05, SD=1.28) submitted 67% of the weekly SMS that they were expected to send in. During CBGT a significant reduction by 0.20 BMI-SDS was observed. The reduction by 0.07 BMI-SDS during the SMSMT did not reach statistical significance.


The results support the feasibility of SMSMT in the treatment of childhood overweight. The efficacy of the intervention needs to be demonstrated in an RCT.


SMSMT is a promising intervention that may extend the reach of treatment centers for childhood overweight at reasonable cost and effort.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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