My Quest, an Intervention Using Text Messaging to Improve Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors and Promote Weight Loss in Low-Income Women.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate changes in dietary and physical activity behaviors and weight after implementation of a 12-week text messaging initiative (My Quest).

DESIGN

The researchers conducted a 1-group, pre- to posttest study design to determine changes after implementation of a text messaging initiative developed using the tenets of the Social Cognitive Theory.

SETTING

A total of 55 Alabama counties (84% rural) with high rates of poverty, overweight/obesity, and chronic diseases.

PARTICIPANTS

Convenience sample of low-income, primarily overweight/obese women (n = 104).

INTERVENTION

Short texts (n = 2-3/d) provided health tips, reminders, and goal-setting prompts. Weekly electronic newsletters provided tips and recipes. Participant self-monitored body weight weekly.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE

Outcomes included goal setting, self-efficacy, behavioral and environmental factors, self-monitoring, and body weight; data collection occurred through text message response and online surveys.

ANALYSIS

Analyses were conducted using McNemar test (dichotomous data), Wilcoxon signed rank test (ordinal data), or paired t test (continuous data).

RESULTS

Participants significantly (P < .05) improved dietary and physical activity behaviors and food environment; increased dietary and physical activity goal setting; and reduced body weight.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

A low-cost, text messaging initiative particularly targeting women residing in rural communities with high rates of poverty and obesity can promote weight loss and improve dietary and physical activity behaviors. Future studies may include a control group and social support component such as group text messaging.

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