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Text messaging as an intervention for weight loss in emerging adults

Keating, Sharon R. PhD, FNP-BC (Graduate Program Director of DNP)1; McCurry, Mary PhD, RNC, ANP, ACNP (Associate Professor)2

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: September 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 9 - p 527–536
doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000176
Research - Other

Background and purpose: Rates of overweight and obesity in emerging adults are rapidly increasing and associated with many chronic illnesses, quality of life concerns, and increased health care spending. Effective weight management interventions are needed for this population. The purpose of this study was to examine effects of a text-messaging weight loss intervention on motivation, stage of change for weight loss, and BMI.

Methods: Overweight and obese emerging adults were enrolled (n = 188) and randomized to control or intervention groups. Weight loss information was delivered via a website to both groups. The intervention group also received daily weight loss–related text messages. Motivation, stage of change, and BMI were assessed online, via self-report at baseline, 4, and 8 weeks.

Conclusions: Ninety-five participants were included in the final data analysis. There was a significant increase in motivation and stage of change and decrease in BMI over the study duration, with no significant differences between groups.

Implications for practice: Nurse practitioners are well positioned to provide innovative weight loss interventions in a variety of settings. These results provide important insights for the design of effective weight loss treatment for emerging adults and support the use of web-based and text message–based interventions.

1University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts,

2Department of Adult Nursing, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Correspondence: Sharon R. Keating, PhD, FNP-BC, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02747; E-mail:

Competing interests: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Authors' contributions: Both authors conceived and designed the study. The first author implemented the study, collected data, and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. Both authors analyzed all data and revised the manuscript for final submission.

Received September 29, 2018

Accepted November 16, 2018

© 2019 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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