PURPOSE: Adolescent overweight and obesity is a significant problem for health care with associated quality of life and financial concerns. This systematic review investigated text messaging as an intervention to treat or prevent obesity in adolescent populations.
DATA SOURCES: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement was used as a guideline for the literature search and interpretation of findings. CINAHL, Medline, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PsycINFO, and SocINDEX were searched using a combination of search terms. The initial 95 articles that met the search criteria were narrowed to seven that fit the focus.
CONCLUSIONS: Text messaging is acceptable to adolescents as an obesity treatment but data about content and timing of messages vary. The effects of text messaging on body mass index (BMI) were difficult to determine because messaging was often part of a multicomponent intervention. Text messaging as an intervention for adolescent obesity was used in various settings. There were no included studies from primary care settings.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Further research is needed to determine the effect of messages on BMI and the most helpful content, timing, and frequency. This information may provide advanced practice nurses with effective, affordable tools to manage adolescent obesity in different settings.