Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308372

Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Texting to increase physical activity in teens: Development & preliminary

Author
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2014
Publication Date: 5/23/2014
Citation: Thompson, D.J. 2014. Texting to increase physical activity in teens: Development & preliminary [abstract]. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Conference, May 21-24, 2014, San Diego, California. Symposium S21.2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Our purpose was to present formative research and preliminary results for a self-determination-theory (SDT)-based text messages to promote physical activity (PA) among teens. Thirty 14- to 17-year olds, stratified by gender and race/ethnicity (Black, Hispanic, White), were recruited to participate in two rounds of formative research. The first round obtained information about issues such as preferred time to receive texts, family/school texting rules, content/focus of messages, and personal values. SDT-based texts were then developed promoting autonomy (volition), competence (efficacy), and relatedness (connection to self and others). Texts (i.e., prompts) were also developed as reminders to set a pedometer (i.e., step) goal. An expert professional panel reviewed the texts for theoretical adherence and teen appeal. A second round of formative research was then conducted with teens for their perspective. Formative research indicated teens wanted texts to be short, straightforward, realistic, and use emoticons or exclamation points to convey emotion. Twelve text goal-setting prompts and 72 SDT-based text messages promoting PA were developed; SDT-based texts were divided equally between autonomy, competence, and relatedness support. One hundred sixty teens participated in a 12-week pilot feasibility study. They were randomized to one of 4 groups (no-treatment control, pedometer only, pedometer + prompts, pedometer + prompts + SDT-texts). Preliminary results suggest the pedometer + prompts + SDT texts group had the greatest improvements in PA (7 days of accelerometry). SDT-based texts show promise as a method for increasing PA in teens. Additional research is needed to address behavioral maintenance.