Use Of Text Messaging And Facebook Groups To Support The Healthy Children, Strong Families 2 Healthy Lifestyle Intervention For American Indian Families

Authors: Megan E Curtis, Sarah E Clingan, Huiying Guo, Yuhui Zhu, Larissa J Mooney, Yih-Ing Hser

Publication Year: 2021

Last Updated: May 2021

Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition

Keywords: American Indian; Health Promotion; Obesity Prevention; Facebook; Text Messaging; Social Media; Family-Based Intervention; Access to Care; Technology; Communication


Short Abstract: Background: American Indian (AI) families experience a disproportionately high prevalence of obesity compared to the general US population. Nearly 30% of AI children are obese, but few obesity interventions have been developed to target AI families. Purpose of Study: This study aimed to assess the use and reception of social media and texting technology for sharing health promotion messages to AI/AN parents/guardians as an obesity prevention intervention method for Healthy Children, Strong Families 2. Method: Adult/child dyads were randomized to a control group or the intervention group after being stratified by child weight status. Adults in the intervention group were sent health promotion tips through post mail, text messages, and an optional Facebook group. The families reported feedback a year after the intervention started on their attitudes towards the messages received. Researchers also used Facebook analytics to describe participant interaction with Facebook posts. Sample: AI adults with cell phones in urban and rural settings care for AI children between the ages of 2-5 that are at risk for obesity. Dyads recruited from 4 rural sites; n=240 adult/child pairs and from 1 urban site; n=210 adult/child pairs. Type of Info: Intervention; Intervention reception Results: Text messages and Facebook groups were reported overall to be helpful. Tangible content in messages/posts were reported to be the most helpful, ie ideas for recipes and activities. Urban participants found text messages significantly more helpful than their rural counterparts though. 67.8% of participants joined the Facebook groups, and participants reported higher satisfaction with posts on Facebook compared to text messaging. Urban participants were more likely to engage with Facebook posts compared to rural participants according to Facebook analytical data. 31.7% of participants reported changing their phone number during the intervention trial period. Limitations/Things to Note: Health behaviors in children were not analyzed or tracked. Reception of messages was positive, but that does not indicate whether health behaviors were changed and/or influenced by the communications. Conclusion: Delivery of health promotion interventions for AI children via social media is supported to be found helpful by their AI caregivers. Social media may be an area to target in the future for similar programs, as social media accounts generally remain constant over time, while phone numbers are often changed. This intervention delivery method may be of notable help to the urban AI population.




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