Use of text messaging services to promote health behaviors in children

Daniel B. Fassnacht, Kathina Ali, Cátia Silva, Sónia Gonçalves, Paulo P.P. Machado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine adherence to, satisfaction with, and preliminary efficacy of mobile phone short message service (SMS) to promote health behaviors in school-aged children. Methods: A total of 49 children (aged 8-10 years) were randomized by school classes into a monitoring vs no-monitoring group. All children participated in 2 educational group sessions that focused on health behaviors: the advantages of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity, and decreasing screen time. The monitoring group also reported daily behavior using SMS and received supportive feedback for 8 weeks. Results: Children submitted 61% of the required SMS, which indicated good adherence to the intervention. A number of children (95%) reported being satisfied with the program. Analyses of covariance indicated increase in fruit and vegetable consumption (χ2 [2] = 7.27; P < .05) and a decrease in screen time (χ2 [2] = 6.79; P < .05). Conclusions and Implications: The current SMS intervention was a useful tool to monitor and promote health behaviors in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Eating behavior
  • Exercise
  • Health behavior
  • Text messaging


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