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Title: Texting to increase adolescent physical activity: Feasibility assessment

item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item CANTU, DORA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item RAMIREZ, BETSY - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item CULLEN, KAREN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item BARANOWSKI, TOM - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item MENDOZA, JASON - University Of Washington Medical School
item ANDERSON, BARBARA - Baylor College Of Medicine
item JAGO, RUSSELL - University Of Bristol
item RODGERS, WENDY - University Of Alberta
item LIU, YAN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: American Journal of Health Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2016
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Thompson, D.J., Cantu, D., Ramirez, B., Cullen, K.W., Baranowski, T., Mendoza, J., Anderson, B., Jago, R., Rodgers, W., Liu, Y. 2016. Texting to increase adolescent physical activity: Feasibility assessment. American Journal of Health Behavior. 40(4):472-483.

Interpretive Summary: Teens do not meet physical activity recommendations. Innovative approaches are needed. This research demonstrated that an intervention with theory-grounded text messages, goal prompts, and pedometers is a feasible and acceptable approach with teens. This research contributes to the body of evidence regarding how to develop interventions that appeal to teens and may offer insight into cost-effective methods for increasing teen physical activity.

Technical Abstract: Feasibility trials assess whether a behavior change program warrants a definite trial evaluation. This paper reports the feasibility of an intervention consisting of Self Determination Theory-informed text messages, pedometers, and goal prompts to increase adolescent physical activity. A 4-group randomized design with baseline and immediate post-study assessments was used. Groups (pedometer; pedometer + goal prompt; pedometer + goal prompt + theory-informed texts; no-treatment control) were systematically varied to assess the additive effect of intervention components on objectively measured physical activity (ie, ActiGraph). The primary outcome of the 12-week intervention was program feasibility. Changes in average daily step counts and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity also were examined. Post-intervention research with a subset of participants examined program reactions. Participants (N = 160) were evenly split by sex, mostly 14-15 years old, and of diverse race/ethnicity. Feasibility criteria were met. The attrition rate was less than 2%. Modest increases in average daily step counts and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were observed in all groups except the control group. Participants reported positive reactions to the intervention. An intervention consisting of pedometers, theory-informed texts, and goal prompts, is a feasible and acceptable method for promoting physical activity to adolescents.