A Systematic Review of Interventions to Enhance Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors in Adolescents Delivered via Mobile Phone Text Messaging

Lois J. Loescher, Stephen A. Rains, Sandra S. Kramer, Chelsie Akers, Renee Moussa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: To systematically review healthy lifestyle interventions targeted to adolescents and delivered using text messaging (TM). Data Source: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases. Study Inclusion Criteria: Research articles published during 2011 to 2014; analyses focused on intervention targeting adolescents (10-19 years), with healthy lifestyle behaviors as main variables, delivered via mobile phone-based TM. Data Extraction: The authors extracted data from 27 of 281 articles using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses method. Data Synthesis: Adolescent and setting characteristics, study design and rigor, intervention effectiveness, challenges, and risk of bias. Results: Across studies, 16 (59.3%) of 27 included non-Caucasians. The gender was split for 22 (81.5%) of 27 studies. Thirteen studies were randomized controlled trials. There was heterogeneity among targeted conditions, rigor of methods, and intervention effects. Interventions for monitoring/adherence (n = 8) reported more positive results than those for health behavior change (n = 19). Studies that only included message delivered via TM (n = 14) reported more positive effects than studies integrating multiple intervention components. Interventions delivered using TM presented minimal challenges, but selection and performance bias were observed across studies. Conclusion: Interventions delivered using TM have the potential, under certain conditions, to improve healthy lifestyle behaviors in adolescents. However, the rigor of studies varies, and established theory and validated measures have been inconsistently incorporated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-879
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • adolescent health
  • health promotion
  • intervention studies
  • text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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