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Health Psychol. 2012 Nov;31(6):797-805. doi: 10.1037/a0027498. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Short message service reduces dropout in childhood obesity treatment: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. judithdeniet@live.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Lifestyle programs can reduce the level of overweight in children; however, maintenance results and adherence to treatment are difficult to achieve. New technologies, such as the Short Message Service (SMS), might be a promising tool for enhancing interventions. The effect of an SMS approach aimed at improving treatment results and reducing dropout rates in a pediatric lifestyle intervention, is explored.

METHOD:

Overweight and obese children (N = 141; age 7-12 years) participating in a lifestyle program were randomly assigned to an intervention group receiving an SMS Maintenance Treatment (SMSMT) for 38 weeks (n = 73) or to a control group receiving no SMSMT (n = 68). Children were asked to send weekly self-monitoring data on exercise, eating behavior, and emotional well-being. In return, they received tailored feedback messages. A differential decrease in BMI was analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA and dropout with logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:

We found no significant difference in BMI decrease between the two groups after 12 months; however, we showed that the SMSMT group had 3.25 times less probability of dropping out after 1 year (p = .01) than controls. In the first 3 months of SMSMT, the SMSMT completers sent 0.80 SMSs per week, which reduced to 0.50 SMSs in the final 3 months. Younger children sent more SMSs (p = .03).

CONCLUSIONS:

These results indicate that SMSMT is effective in reducing dropout rates from a pediatric lifestyle intervention. Future research should examine the effectiveness of SMSMT on weight management and related psychosocial variables.

PMID:
22468714
DOI:
10.1037/a0027498
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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