The SNAP-Ed Toolkit is moving!

The Toolkit and its resources, including evidence-based interventions and the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, will soon be housed within the SNAP-Ed Connection website. Please look for future communication regarding that transition. Thanks. — The Toolkit Team

Text2LiveHealthy

University of Colorado - Anschutz, School of Public Health, Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center (RMPRC)

Overview

The Text2LiveHealthy (T2LH) intervention is a direct education and social marketing intervention designed to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity, and increase family consumption of water while decreasing consumption of sugary beverages among the entire family. T2LH is a nutrition and physical activity digital health outreach effort that links the Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP) and Culture of Wellness in Preschools (COWP) youth education provided in classrooms to homes via text messaging, in order to influence behavior change for SNAP-eligible families across Colorado. The messages are easy to use and include goal-setting for healthy behavior change, fun and easy recipes, family-friendly physical activity ideas, motivational messages and links to resources. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance  
Intervention Type: Direct Education, Social Marketing 

Intervention Reach and Adoption

T2LH targets SNAP recipients and SNAP-eligible families who have preschool- or school-aged children across Colorado with a device that can receive text messagesRecruitment occurs by collaborating with SNAP-Ed implementation agencies, INEP and COWP, that provide programming in preschools and elementary schools. Since it was originally accepted into the SNAP-Ed Toolkit, T2lH has expanded its reach from English- and Spanish-speaking caregivers to include English-speaking refugees, older adults and other SNAP-eligible participants in community settings and in other states. As of August 1, 2023, there were 3,922 subscribers in the school-based campaign out of approximately 10,000 potential families. Of the subscribers 64% were English-speaking and 36% were Spanish-speaking 

This intervention was created based on feedback from the target audience after they encountered challenges when attending in-person six-week workshops but still wanted to receive healthy eating and physical activity education. RMPRC staff collaborated with Maryland’s SNAP-Ed Text2BHealthy program initially and then developed an intervention based on the Theory of Planned Behavior change specific to the target audience in Colorado. To ensure inclusion of the large Hispanic population in Colorado, all T2LH materials were prepared in English but were translated and culturally adapted for Spanish-speaking participants. A formative evaluation was also completed in October 2017, which informed the development and evaluation of the final T2LH intervention. 

 

Setting: Child care (Learn), School (Learn) 

Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years), Elementary School, Parents/Mothers/Fathers 

Race/Ethnicity: No special focus 

Intervention Components

T2LH includes text messages on three themes: 1 fruits and vegetables, 2. physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and 3. sugar-sweetened beverages and water consumption. In addition to the intervention messages, participants receive “local” messages for resources. Examples of these messages include farmer’s markets, SNAP-Ed recipes, Double Up Food Bucks and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). In year one participants receive one to two intervention messages per week with the same “local” messages. Finally, year three consists of one intervention message per week and “local” messages. The T2LH intervention provides supplemental education to the classroom education to influence behavior change for SNAP-eligible families. The text messages are based in the following constructs from the Theory of Planned Behavior Change: knowledge, self-efficacy, intention, skills, environmental constraints, social norms, and attitudes. The content of the messaging may be adapted; however, the underlying theoretical foundation must remain intact.

Intervention Materials

Intervention message libraries for Year 1 Year 2 and Year 3:  

  • Year 1 message library consists of four cycles, each with seven to eight core texts, two to four evaluation questions per cycle.   
  • Year 2 message library consists of two cycles, each with seven to eight core texts, two to three evaluation questions per cycle. 
  • Year 3 message library consists of two cycles, each with seven to eight core texts,  two evaluation questions   

Some items, including message library, platform protocols, sample recruitment materials, and bilingual (English and Spanish) nutrition education materials, are available on the  Culture of Wellness in Preschools website.  

Intervention Costs

The T2LH intervention can be purchased for a reasonable cost. Interested SNAP-Ed Implementing Agencies would need to set-up an MOU with the RMPRC. A unique opt-in code would then be provided to the IA and this code could be given to participating SNAP-Ed participants. The participants would then receive up to three years of text messaging programming and evaluation questions. Evaluation results would then be provided back to the IA.

Evidence Summary

T2LH conducted a formative evaluation with 21 adult participants, and all the information collected during this formative evaluation phase informed the development and evaluation of the T2LH intervention. Process data were also collected to review user-engagement with the texting content, which included capturing the number of clicks and responding to branching logic texts. An outcomes evaluation included the administration of goal-setting and behavior change evaluation texts that are completed after each texting theme. Fruit and vegetable evaluation responses indicated that participants self-reported goal-setting (81%) and increased fruit and vegetable consumption (76%) because of T2LH. Physical activity evaluation responses indicated that participants self-reported goal-setting (80%) and increased physical activity (69%) because of T2LH. Water and sugar-sweetened beverage evaluation responses indicated that participants not only self-reported goal-setting for increasing water consumption (86%) and decreasing sugary drinks (88%), they increased water consumption (83%) and decreased sugary drink consumption (85%)A qualitative study and a more rigorous longitudinal evaluation are underway to assess the acceptability and behavior change outcomes of T2LH with current subscribers.  

The unintended benefits of the intervention include: 

  • The level of reported goal-setting and behavior change was much higher than anticipated 
  • There were statistically significant differences (p<0.05) between Spanish and English-speaking participants in all outcomes (except in goal setting for sugary drinks) that favored Spanish-speaking families 
  • The length of time that participants remained on the program was unexpected and prompted the development of a second year of intervention  

The challenges include: 

  • Subscribers have a hard time using their phone to opt-in to the program 

To address this challenge, a flyer was designed showing the steps to optin to the program and staff were trained to help subscribers one-on-one. Additionally, sign-up sheets were used for subscribers to write down their phone number and preferred language. Potentially, partnerships between preschools and schools could further promote T2LH and improve parent recruitment. Community navigators assist with recruitment in refugee communities and partnerships with additional State Unit on Aging organizations facilitate recruitment of older adults across Colorado.

 

Evidence-based Approach: Practice-tested

Evaluation Indicators

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

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST3 MT1, MT3
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

ST1: Healthy Eating  

  • ST1a and ST1b: 81% of respondents (247/305) reported setting goals for fruit and vegetable setting.  
  • ST1l: 86% of respondents (173/201) reported setting goals for drinking water instead of sugary beverages. 

ST3: Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior 

  • ST3a: 80% of respondents (176/220) reported setting goals to increase physical activity. 

MT1: Healthy Eating  

  • MT1g: 83% of respondents (167/201) reported an increase in drinking water. 
  • MT1h: 85% of respondents (171/201) reported drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g., regular soda or sports drinks). 
  • MT1l and MT1m: 76% of respondents (243/320) reported an increase in the cups of fruits and vegetables consumed per day. 

MT3: Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior  

  • MT3a: 69% of respondents (152/220) reported an increase in physical activity. 

Evaluation Materials

Text2LiveHealthy evaluation materials include:

  • Evaluation questions:  
    • Example questions: Healthy Eating  
      • ST1: The past few weeks, we sent texts about setting a goal to eat more fruits and vegetables. Did you set a goal?  
      • MT1: The past few weeks, we sent texts about eating fruits and vegetables. Are you eating more fruits and vegetables because of these texts? 
  • Formative evaluation interview guide and protocol  
  • Phone interview guide and protocol  
  • User-engagement evaluation protocol
  • Longitudinal survey 

Success Story

Text2BHealthy Colorado: An Innovative Way to Connect with Families:

https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/success-stories/text2bhealthy-colorado-innovative-way-connect-families

Colorado’s Text2LiveHealthy – Culturally Responsive Programming:

https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/library/success-stories/colorados-text2livehealthy-culturally-responsive-programming

 

 

 

Additional Information

Website: The T2LH website includes an overview of T2LH, bilingual T2LH resources and tips, and testimonials.  

Contact Person(s):
Beth Watts
Phone: 303-475-0726
Email: Elizabeth.watts@ucdenver.edu

 

*Updated as of August 20, 2023