Abstract P386: Design of a Tailored Text-message Intervention for Weight Loss
Introduction: Tailoring information is a commonly used health communication technique to individualize behavior change programs. However, few studies have applied individualized tailoring to a text-message intervention. Using tailoring with text-messages may be a powerful behavior change tool as this technology is inexpensive, asynchronous, and is ubiquitous across socio-economic segments. We developed a tailored, “push/pull,” text-message intervention for overweight/obese English and Spanish-speaking participants that targets weight management behaviors. The development of the theory-driven logic rules for individualized text-messages is described. Methods: A robust web-based participant intake system was developed to gather and store the data needed to individualize the messages by personalization, feedback, and content matching. Feedback and content matching was based on both a baseline weight management behavior survey and continual text message-based assessments related to individual behaviors and perceived barriers. The system is designed so that participants who show rapid and sustained progress can advance through the content, while those having difficulties can receive additional tips and suggestions. Participants will be scheduled to receive 3-4 interactive messages per day from our library of over 6,000 text messages. We categorized the messages into five groups: 1) Subject matter: Content related to nutrition and physical activity behaviors; 2) Behavioral core strategies based on Self-Regulation Theory (e.g. self-monitoring, goal setting); 3) Message type (e.g. reminder, feedback); 4) Personalization (e.g. favorite restaurants, friends’ names); and 5) Location related messages. We also developed a “like/ don’t like” feature so that the system can continuously learn user preferences for message types and adjust the type of future messages sent accordingly.
Conclusion: A large-scale randomized controlled trial is underway to evaluate the efficacy of this text-message intervention. While this intervention is aimed at weight loss, our tailoring technique will likely apply to other health behaviors as well.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.