Recruitment and retention in an SMS-based health education program: Lessons learned from Text2BHealthy

Katherine E. Speirs, Stephanie K. Grutzmacher, Ashley L. Munger, Lauren A. Messina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


While text messages or short messaging service programs are increasingly utilized for delivering health education, few studies have explored the unique challenges of recruiting and retaining participants in such programs. This study utilizes survey and focus group data from Text2BHealthy, a short messaging service-based nutrition and physical activity promotion program, to examine barriers to enrollment and facilitators of retention among parents of elementary school students. Results show that participants were hard to reach with recruitment materials, had difficulty with self-enrollment, and were apprehensive about program costs. However, 89-90 percent of participants were retained. Results suggest that providing manual enrollment options, alternative program delivery methods (e.g. email messages), and opportunities to reenroll may facilitate participation in short messaging service-based health education and promotion programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-658
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • mobile health
  • nutrition education
  • recruitment
  • retention
  • text messages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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