Feasibility and Acceptability of a Mobile Messaging Program Within a Church-Based Healthy Living Intervention for African Americans and Latinos

Published in: Health Informatics Journal (2019). doi: 10.1177/1460458219853408

Posted on RAND.org on October 15, 2019

by Margaret D. Whitley, Denise Diaz Payan, Karen Rocío Flórez, Malcolm V. Williams, Eunice C. Wong, Cheryl Branch, Kathryn Pitkin Derose

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Church-based programs can act on multiple levels to improve dietary and physical activity behaviors among African Americans and Latinos. However, the effectiveness of these interventions may be limited due to challenges in reaching all congregants or influencing behavior outside of the church setting. To increase intervention impact, we sent mobile messages (text and email) in English or Spanish to congregants (n = 131) from predominantly African American or Latino churches participating in a multi-level, church-based program. To assess feasibility and acceptability, we collected feedback throughout the 4-month messaging intervention and conducted a process evaluation using the messaging platform. We found that the intervention was feasible to implement and acceptable to a racially ethnically diverse study sample with high obesity and overweight rates. While the process evaluation had some limitations (e.g. low response rate), we conclude that mobile messaging is a promising, feasible addition to church-based programs aiming to improve dietary and physical activity behaviors.

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