Lifestyle Medicine Health Education and Intervention Program "Family Central"




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Purpose: Since the declaration of the obesity epidemic, children have been bearing the consequences of this public health crisis. Obesity is associated with adverse health outcomes, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Minority children and those of low socioeconomic status face higher rates of obesity. Children of obese parents are more likely to become overweight or obese themselves. Given this background, our goal was to determine the most effective ways to initiate and maintain healthful lifestyle behaviors that could prevent and reverse chronic diseases among socioeconomically disadvantaged families. The overall objective of this study was to measure the efficacy of text message platforms as an e-health intervention in delivering personalized health education content to parents of overweight/obese children by observing changes in their knowledge and attitudes of healthful lifestyle choices and the overall resultant health outcomes in their children. Methods: We customized an e-health intervention using the Mosio text message platform to address the six tenets of lifestyle medicine: nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sleep, tobacco cessation, and social connection. 19 adult caregivers of overweight/obese children from the UNTHSC Pediatric Mobile Clinic were enrolled. Caregivers were randomly assorted to an intervention group, who received 2+ educational briefs via the text message platform, Mosio, and a control group, who were referred to the patient portal for education, which is standard of care. Goal-setting behavior was examined by asking participants to set a weekly lifestyle goal and rate their confidence and motivation to achieve these goals on a scale of 1 to 10. Results: Results of this study were limited by low sample size and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment and retention. No statistically significant results were calculated between the intervention and control groups. Qualitative analysis yielded positive responses on an individual basis. Thematic analysis revealed the most significant utilization of SMART goal setting in the domains of physical activity, social connection, and stress management. Feedback from participants demonstrated that text message interventions helped them stay consistent with routine, avoid falling into bad habits, and create healthy habits for their family. Conclusions: While there were no statistically significant findings of this study, positive qualitative data suggests that the innovative Mosio interactive platform may serve as an ideal tool for inducing attitudinal, knowledge, and behavioral stage changes and, ultimately, acquisition of healthful lifestyle behaviors that combat chronic disease.