A study led by a researcher at the University of Arizona found that health interventions delivered using text messaging have the potential, under certain conditions, to improve healthy lifestyle behaviors in adolescents. The study was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Dr. Lois Loescher, associate professor and member of the UA Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, led the study to systematically review healthy lifestyle interventions targeted to adolescents and delivered using text messaging (TM).
Dr. Loescher and colleagues reviewed research articles published during 2011 to 2014. Analyses focused on intervention targeting adolescents (10-19 years), with healthy lifestyle behaviors as main variables, delivered via mobile phone-based text messaging (TM).
The authors extracted data from 27 of 281 articles using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses method.
Across studies, 16 (59.3 percent) of 27 included non-Caucasians. The gender was split for 22 (81.5 percent) of 27 studies. Thirteen studies were randomized controlled trials. There was heterogeneity among targeted conditions, rigor of methods, and intervention effects. Interventions for monitoring/adherence (n = 8) reported more positive results than those for health behavior change (n = 19). Studies that only included message delivered via TM (n = 14) reported more positive effects than studies integrating multiple intervention components. Interventions delivered using TM presented minimal challenges, but selection and performance bias were observed across studies.
The findings suggest that interventions delivered using TM have the potential, under certain conditions, to improve healthy lifestyle behaviors in adolescents. However, the rigor of studies varies, and established theory and validated measures have been inconsistently incorporated.
A Systematic Review of Interventions to Enhance Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors in Adolescents Delivered via Mobile Phone Text Messaging — American Journal of Health Promotion, Dr. Lois J. Loescher; Dr. Stephen A. Rains; Ms. Sandra S. Kramer; Ms. Chelsie Akers; Ms. Renee Moussa.