Text2BHealthy

University of Maryland Extension

Overview

Text2BHealthy is a social marketing and direct education text message-based intervention designed to stimulate positive behavior change in parents with respect to grocery shopping habits, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity. Text2BHealthy engages low-income parents of elementary school children by sending text messages which link parents to their school and community.  Parents receive about 2 text messages per week connecting parents with nutrition education in the classroom, identifying community events related to nutrition and physical activity that are free or low-cost, highlighting grocery store specials/recipes and physical activity ideas to try at home with their family.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change, Social Marketing

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Text2BHealthy targets parents of elementary school children that meet the criteria for a low-income school in rural and urban areas. Text2BHealthy has been implemented across the state of Maryland in a total of 22 elementary schools over the last 4 years and reaches approximately 2,500 parents each year.  Text2BHealthy reaches approximately 33% of the parents in participating schools.  Once enrolled in Text2BHealthy, the retention rate for the program is 90%.

Setting: School

Age: Elementary School, Parents/Mothers/Fathers

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Text2BHealthy includes text messages to complement direct nutrition education provided in elementary school classrooms. This component provides information to parents to help reinforce nutrition information and behaviors that their children are learning in the schools.  Text messages are targeted to the school/area and are behaviorally focused.  Messages consist of school activities, community information, physical activities and evaluation messages.

Intervention Materials

Implementation materials are not available online but the Text2BHealthy team has had numerous conversations with other SNAP-Ed programs across the country to answer questions about the program.  The team will continue to be available as other SNAP-Ed agencies have questions about implementing the program in their state.

Evidence Summary

Text2BHealthy uses pre/post surveys to determine program effectiveness.

  • When Text2BHealthy is combined with youth classroom based nutrition education, youth demonstrate a greater increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, taste preference for healthy foods, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable self-efficacy over youth receiving only classroom-based education.

After participating in Text2BHealthy, parents report:

  • Consuming a significantly wider variety of fruits at the end of the school year than at the beginning of the year.
    • 58% of parents report often or always eating more than one kind of fruit daily
    • 68% of parents say their child is doing the same.
  • Consuming a significantly greater variety of vegetables at the end of the school year than at the beginning of the year.
    • 65% of parents often or always eat more than one kind of vegetable each day
    • 53% of parents say their child is doing the same.
  • Engaging in significantly more physical activity.
    • Parents report spending an average of 6.1 hours per week (or 52 minutes per day) engaged in physical activity
    • Their children are physically active an average of 5.1 days per week.

Text2BHealthy has been recognized in the following reports:

Classification: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Short Term (ST) Medium Term (MT) Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2, ST3 MT1, MT2, MT3
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

The evaluation plan for Text2BHealthy includes a pre and post-test survey of enrolled parents interested in participating in the survey. Text2BHealthy parents are also sent texted evaluation questions throughout the year to determine behavior change related to specific messages. Focus groups were also conducted to determine ways to improve the program and to understand if parents were reading messages and how messages were used to encourage behavior change.

Additional Information

Website: The Text2BHealthy website (https://extension.umd.edu/fsne/fsne-adult-programs/text2bhealthy) includes an intervention overview, a promotional flyer, and a contact for more information.

Contact Person(s):
Laryessa Worthington
University of Maryland Extension Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program
E-mail: lengland@umd.edu
Phone: (443) 283-2818