240009 Step It Up: Evidence for the use of text messaging to promote physical activity in working women

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nancy M. Gell, PT MPH , Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Danielle D. Wadsworth, PhD , Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Introduction: Preliminary evidence shows text messaging to be a potential new means for health education, however, few studies have applied text messaging to physical activity promotion programs. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the role of mobile phone text messaging as a low cost, motivational tool for increasing physical activity in working women. Methods: Eighty-seven employed women were randomly assigned to an intervention (n=42) or control (n=45) group. The intervention group received an average of three text messages per week that were motivational, informational, and specific to performing physical activity. Step counts for seven days via Omron pedometer and self efficacy to perform exercise were measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Subjects provided qualitative feedback via surveys. Results: Paired t-tests showed a decrease in step counts for both groups, (9% intervention vs. 19% control) however only the control group decreased significantly (p=0.0002). Self efficacy remained unchanged at midterm in the intervention group but decreased significantly in the control group (p=0.03). Survey responses showed high satisfaction ratings with the intervention. (0% dissatisfied vs 73% satisfied). Attrition rates were minimal at 12 weeks in the intervention group with 1 subject requesting to discontinue. Conclusion: Consistent with other studies step counts decreased during the winter months, though not significantly in the intervention group. The positive responses to the messages and the low attrition rate provide additional evidence for the use of text messaging as a cost effective tool to promote physical activity.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the development and implementation of a text message intervention to promote physical activity 2. Discuss the advantages and limitations of using text messaging for physical activity promotion 3. Assess the ability of text messages to influence physical activity behaviors.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary person responsible for the design, data collection, and analysis of the Step it Up program. I am a doctoral student with a focus on physical activity promotion, I have an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education and 10 years of research experience.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.