Mobile phone text messaging to promote healthy behaviors and weight loss maintenance: a feasibility study

Health Informatics J. 2009 Mar;15(1):17-25.
Authors: Gerber BS, Stolley MR, Thompson AL, Sharp LK, Fitzgibbon ML.

There is a need to investigate newer strategies pertaining to the maintenance of healthy behaviors and weight. We investigated the feasibility of mobile phone text messaging to enable ongoing communication with African-American women participating in a weight management program. Ninety-five African-American women participated in this pilot study and received regularly scheduled text messages. Forty-two of these women chose to create 165 personal text messages that included tips on healthy eating and physical activity, as well as reminders to drink water and expressions of encouragement. A commercially available client-based application transmitted these personal messages and general health messages at least three times per week. The software transmitted over 4500 text messages during the first 4 months with 114 returned as undeliverable. Participants expressed generally positive attitudes toward incoming text messages, with only one participant declining to continue after enrollment. This study demonstrated early feasibility and acceptability of text messaging as a method for promoting healthy behaviors for weight maintenance.

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