March 12, 2012

Dr. Stephanie Grutzmacher, Extension Family Specialist and Faculty Research Associate, and Department of Family Science Post Doctoral Scholar Dr. Katherine Speirs are leading an evaluation of the Text2BHealthy program, which is administered by the Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program. Text2BHealthy is a text-message based nutrition education program in which parents at eight elementary schools in Maryland receive targeted text messaging. These messages provide parents with relevant and actionable tips that they can use to improve their child's nutrition and physical activity.

To evaluate this program, Drs. Grutzmacher and Speirs are using a quasi-experimental design that includes a pre-test and post-test administered to an intervention and control group. They are currently distributing more than 3,000 pre-test surveys to parents at the 6 intervention and 2 control schools. These surveys are designed to measure the program's effectiveness in changing knowledge and behavior concerning nutrition and physical activity as well as the feasibility of using text messages to reach a low-income audience. This is one of the first studies in the country to examine the use of text-message based health promotion with a low-income audience. Congratulations to Drs. Grutzmacher and Speirs, along with the Text2BHealthy Team, on this groundbreaking research project!