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‘Not to Be Harsh but Try Less to Relate to ‘the Teens’ and You’ll Relate to Them More’: Co-Designing Obesity Prevention Text Messages with Adolescents

1
Westmead Applied Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
2
Prevention Research Collaboration, Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
3
Department of Weight Management, The Children’s Hospital Westmead, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
4
Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
5
The George Institute for Global Health, The University of New South Wales, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4887; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244887
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 3 December 2019 / Accepted: 3 December 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity Prevention and Intervention in Children and Adolescents)
Text messages remain a preferred way for adolescents to communicate, and recent evidence suggests adolescents would like access to digital healthcare options. However, there is limited evidence for text messages to engage adolescent populations in obesity prevention behaviors. We aimed to co-design a bank of text messages that are evidence-based, acceptable, and engaging for adolescents. An established iterative mixed methods process, consisting of three phases, was used to develop the text message program. The first bank of 145 text messages was drafted based on current evidence, behavior change techniques, and input from researchers and health professionals. A survey was then administered to adolescents and professionals for review of text message content, usefulness, understanding, and age-appropriateness. An adolescent research assistant collaborated with the research team on all three phases. Forty participants (25 adolescents and 15 professionals) reviewed the initial bank of 145 text messages. On average, all reviewers agreed the text messages were easy to understand (13.6/15) and useful (13.1/15). In total, 107 text messages were included in the final text message bank to support behavior change and prevent obesity. This study may guide other researchers or health professionals who are seeking to engage adolescents in the co-design of health promotion or intervention content. Effectiveness of the text message program will be tested in a randomized controlled trial.
Keywords: adolescent; obesity prevention; text message; digital technology; mHealth; co-design; behavior change adolescent; obesity prevention; text message; digital technology; mHealth; co-design; behavior change
MDPI and ACS Style

Partridge, S.R.; Raeside, R.; Latham, Z.; Singleton, A.C.; Hyun, K.; Grunseit, A.; Steinbeck, K.; Redfern, J. ‘Not to Be Harsh but Try Less to Relate to ‘the Teens’ and You’ll Relate to Them More’: Co-Designing Obesity Prevention Text Messages with Adolescents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4887.

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