Prevention of obesity in young people using text messages

Years funded:
2019 - 2022

Obesity is one of the greatest health challenges facing today’s adolescents, who now account for the largest global population segment (>25%).

In Australia, over 30% of adolescents (13 to 18 years) are overweight or obese. Weight gain during adolescence is related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes in later life.

Implementing accessible obesity interventions could save our society $2.1B over the next ten years. Hence, it is extremely important we develop contemporary, low-cost, and engaging population-based obesity prevention solutions.

Presently, Australian adolescents have limited access to age-appropriate obesity prevention services. There is a small body of evidence which indicates text messaging interventions can promote weight loss in adults. However, there is limited evidence for the role of text messages to engage overweight adolescent populations in obesity prevention behaviours.

In my preliminary work, through expert workshops and consumer testing, I have developed a bank of 300 evidence-based text messages that are acceptable and engaging for adolescents to be tested in this study. In this trial, I aim to test the effectiveness of a text message healthy lifestyle program, TEXTBITES (with optional health counselling) compared to usual care in improving weight and lifestyle behaviours in adolescents who are overweight.

My research will inform future research about the role of text messages in obesity prevention for adolescents.

Researcher Profile

Dr Stephanie Partridge

Institute: University of Sydney
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