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Title: Family TXT: Development of a mHealth obesity prevention program for parents of African American girls

item CALLENDER, CHISHINGA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2019
Publication Date: 10/24/2019
Citation: Callender, C., Thompson, D.J. 2019. Family TXT: Development of a mHealth obesity prevention program for parents of African American girls [abstract]. 2019 Texas Society for Public Health Education (TSOPHE) Conference. October 24-25, 2019; Houston, TX. Poster Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Obesity prevalence is greater in African American girls than their non-Hispanic white peers. Interventions that incorporate technology, such as mobile health (mHealth), have the potential to encourage obesity preventive behaviors using familiar, convenient, and available technology. Parents have the primary control over the home environment and play an important role in child obesity prevention. Programs to help parents develop an obesity-preventive home environment are needed. The purpose of this study was to collect formative research from parents of 8-10 year old African American girls about perceptions, expectations, and content for a mHealth child obesity prevention program designed to help parents modify the home environment to promote and support behaviors associated with reduced risk of obesity. Mothers (n=30) participated in surveys and interviews to inform message development and content. A professional expert panel (n=10) reviewed draft text messages via a survey. All the mothers reported owning a cell phone with an unlimited texting plan and using their cell phones for texting (90.0%) and accessing the Internet (100.0%). The majority were interested in receiving text messages about nutrition and physical activity (86.7%). Interviews confirmed survey findings. Parents were interested in receiving short and informative text messages including reputable website links. They suggested receiving at most three messages each week. One hundred and seven self-determination theory grounded text messages promoting an obesity-preventive home environment, focusing on nutrition, physical activity, sedentary behavior, stress, and sleep were developed using parent feedback as a guide. The expert panel and parents reviewed the draft text messages and had positive reactions to them. Based on their feedback, 36 theoretically-derived, culturally appropriate text messages were finalized. This research provides evidence that mHealth interventions appeal to parents of African American girls and they have ready access to the technology with which to support this approach.