TitleText2bhealthy: A Pilot Nutrition Texting Program Targeting Parents of School-Aged Children
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsWorthington, L, Braunscheidel, EM, Lachenmayr, L, Grutzmacher, SK, Speirs, K, DiBari, J, Messina, L, Munger, A
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Date Published9/2012

Learning Outcome To determine the effectiveness of a text messaging program targeting parents of school aged children on health behaviors. Traditional direct nutrition education programs in elementary schools are effective in reaching children but are difficult to replicate and sustain when trying to reach parents. It is important to consider how parents want to be reached in a convenient and quick way. Approximately 96% of parents have the capability of receiving text messages and 81% have unlimited text message plans. Text messaging has been shown to be an effective tool in reaching individuals and triggering behavior change, however there is limited research around its effectiveness for nutrition education. Maryland's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed) developed a texting program to reach parents of children enrolled in schools with SNAP-Ed nutrition education. Messages are targeted, actionable nudges about school/community nutrition opportunities and physical activity. The pilot program enrolled 8 schools across Maryland; 6 intervention and 2 control schools. Pre test surveys were sent to approximately 3000 parents to determine fruit/vegetable consumption and physical activity prior to enrollment and post test surveys will be sent after completion of the program. Parents could enroll in the program by texting a keyword unique to their child's school. Enrollment was voluntary and targeted for those with unlimited text messages. An e-mail option was also provided for participants that do not have unlimited text message plans. Messages were sent 2-3 times/week with evaluation questions texted throughout the program to evaluate behavior change. Analysis of evaluation data will be completed during the summer 2012. Funding Disclosure Funding for the SNAP-Ed program is provided by USDA in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the University of Maryland Extension