TitleLessons Learned for Enrolling Parents in a Text Message-based Nutrition Education Program
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSpeirs, K, Grutzmacher, SK
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Date Published07/2013

Text2BHealthy is a nutrition and physical activity promotion program for parents of elementary school children. Short-term outcomes include increased offering of fruits and vegetables and increased opportunities for physical activity. Longer-term outcomes include increased fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity.

Target audience
Parents of elementary school-aged children.

Theory, Prior Research, Rationale
Text2BHealthy utilizes text messages, which have been effective in promoting health behaviors such as weight loss (Patrick, et al., 2009), physical activity (Fjeldsoe, et al. 2010), and smoking cessation (Free, et al., 2011, Rodgers, et al., 2011) to reach parents of low-income children participating in school-based nutrition education. Nutrition education that includes children and their parents has a greater impact than programs for children only (Golan, Fainaru, & Weizman, 1998; Flynn, et al., 2006).

Other text message-based health promotion programs, such as Text4Baby, have had mixed success with outreach strategies and have struggled to meet their recruitment goals in some target populations (Whittaker et al., 2012). Our presentation will present several lessons that we learned about recruiting and retaining participants in Text2BHealthy. We will also detail the program changes that allowed us to increase the number of Text2BHealthy participants from 203 in the first year to 1,101 in the second.

Recruitment and retention efforts were evaluated using administrative data collected by the online platform used to send text messages and focus groups conducted with both participants and non-participants.

Conclusions and Implications
This presentation will provide practical information for individuals planning text message-based programs or adding a text message component to existing programs.

Short TitleJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior