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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Jan-Feb;45(1):12-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Texting for health: the use of participatory methods to develop healthy lifestyle messages for teens.

Author information

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. hinglem@u.arizona.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To develop and test messages and a mobile phone delivery protocol designed to influence the nutrition and physical activity knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of adolescents.

DESIGN:

Nine focus groups, 4 classroom discussions, and an 8-week pilot study exploring message content, format, origin, and message delivery were conducted over 12 months using a multistage, youth-participatory approach.

SETTING:

Youth programs at 11 locations in Arizona.

PARTICIPANTS:

Recruitment was coordinated through youth educators and leaders. Eligible teens were 12-18 years old and enrolled in youth programs between fall 2009 and 2010.

PHENOMENON OF INTEREST:

Adolescent preferences for messages and delivery of messages.

ANALYSIS:

Qualitative data analysis procedures to generate themes from field notes.

RESULTS:

One hundred seventy-seven adolescents participated in focus groups (n = 59), discussions (n = 86), and a pilot study (n = 32). Youth preferred messages with an active voice that referenced teens and recommended specific, achievable behaviors; messages should come from nutrition professionals delivered as a text message, at a frequency of ≤ 2 messages/day.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

More than 300 messages and a delivery protocol were successfully developed and tested in partnership with adolescents. Future research should address scalability of texting interventions; explore dose associated with changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors; and offer customized message subscription options.

PMID:
23103255
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2012.05.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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