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Nancy M. Gell and Danielle D. Wadsworth

Background:

The study evaluated the effects of a text message intervention on physical activity in adult working women.

Methods:

Eightyseven participants were randomized to an intervention (n = 41) or control group (n = 46). Pedometer step counts and measures of self-efficacy were collected at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. Intervention participants received approximately 3 text messages per week that were motivational, informational, and specific to performing physical activity.

Results:

ANCOVA results showed a significant difference between groups for mean steps per day at 12 weeks (6540.0 vs. 5685.0, P = .01) and no significant difference at 24 weeks (6867.7 vs. 6189.0, P = .06). There was no change in mean step counts during or after the intervention compared with baseline. There was a significant difference between groups for mean self-efficacy scores at 12 weeks (68.5 vs. 60.3, P = .02) and at 24 weeks (67.3 vs. 59.0, P = .03).

Conclusion:

Intervention participants had higher step counts after 12 and 24 weeks compared with a control group; however, the difference was significant only at the midpoint of the intervention and was attributable to a decrease in steps for the control group. Text messaging did not increase step counts but may be a cost-effective tool for maintenance of physical activity behavior.