The Text2BHealthy program, led by Dr. Stephanie Grutzmacher of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, received the 2015 Priester Award for Health Education Innovation at the National Health Outreach Conference (NHOC) on May 8 in Atlanta, GA. This national award recognizes the innovative approach employed via Text2BHealthy, a text messaging program which provides parents with relevant and actionable tips to improve their child’s nutrition and physical activity.
Text2BHealthy reaches the parents whose children receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) in the classroom. The first text-message-based program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service for use in SNAP-Ed programs, Text2BHealthy was named a best practice program by the agency in 2014.
“School-based interventions that include parents and children have a greater impact than those targeting children alone,” explained Dr. Grutzmacher, research assistant professor in the department of family science. “By providing timely, targeted messages to parents, Text2BHealthy encourages behavior change aimed toward creating healthier children and communities,” Dr. Grutzmacher said.
Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education (FSNE) partnered with the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health and eight elementary schools in Maryland to develop and administer Text2BHealthy. Parents opt-in to the program, and once enrolled, receive two-three text messages per week for four months. Messages either inform participants about nutrition or physical activity events in their community or inform parents about nutritious options or physical activities offered at their child’s school.
Formerly known as the Priester Conference, NHOC convenes more than 200 agencies, organizations, and community partners to build a collaborative approach for addressing health in communities that is aligned with the Cooperative Extension’s National Framework for Health and Wellness.