Title: Text Messaging and Phone Calls as Tools to Promote Healthy Behaviors among Hispanic Populations
Objectives: The primary aim of this project was to evaluate the use of text messaging and phone calls to motivate Hispanic adult males and females to increase their daily physical activity and intake of fruits and vegetables..
The specific aims of this two-arm pilot trial were to test the preliminary efficacy of a text messaging intervention and a combined text messaging and phone call intervention, conducted in Spanish as a means to assist healthy Hispanic adult males and females to increase their daily physical activity and their daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
Methods: We compared the two groups with regard to self-reported amounts of fruits and vegetables eaten per day, as well as the amount of daily physical activity. We controlled for baseline self-reported daily intake of fruits and vegetables, and self-reported physical activity. To be eligible, participants: a) had to be ≥ 18 years, b) be able to read and speak Spanish, c) had not attended the Hispanic Cancer Education Program that has been being implemented as a community educational intervention by the Office of Community Partnerships and Cancer Health Disparities at the Mexican Consulate and other facilities, d) chose Spanish as their preferred language, e) had a mobile phone with text messaging (SMS) capabilities, f) be competent with text messaging abilities on their mobile phone, and g) be able to provide written informed consent. Individuals were exclude if they were unable to provide written consent and/or were not comfortable or competent with mobile phone-based text messaging.
90 enrollees were randomized to one of following three groups:
- Group 1: A usual care control group (n = 30);
- Group 2: Personalized short message service (SMS) messages sent twice a day for five days each week for 12 weeks (n = 30);
- Group 3: Personalized SMS messages sent twice a day for five days each week, in addition to a weekly phone call from a health educator for 12 weeks (n = 30).
- Overall, there were no significant differences between groups in baseline responses to physical activity and fruit/vegetable consumption at the 12-week follow-up;
- Study participants were highly receptive to the intervention strategies as measured by retention and responses to survey elements;
- Participants reported a high degree of adherence to the intervention components;
- Delivering cancer prevention messages through texting and phone messages was viewed as an acceptable and appropriate form of communication for native Spanish speaking community members. This finding spanned across all study groups.
This study generated important data about the feasibility and appropriateness of text and phone-based communication strategies. We were also able to assess cost-effectiveness and cultural dimensions of these strategies that can be used to inform subsequent interventions.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:
University of Texas Health Science Center At San Antonio