Text messaging to help women with overweight or obesity lose weight after childbirth: the intervention adaptation and SMS feasibility RCT



McGirr C, Rooney C, Gallagher D, Dombrowski SU, Anderson AS, Cardwell CR, Free C, Hoddinott P, Holmes VA, McIntosh E, Somers C, Woodside JV, Young IS, Kee F & McKinley MC (2020) Text messaging to help women with overweight or obesity lose weight after childbirth: the intervention adaptation and SMS feasibility RCT. Public Health Research, 8 (4), pp. 1-152.

Background There is a need to develop weight management interventions that fit seamlessly into the busy lives of women during the postpartum period. Objective The objective was to develop and pilot-test an evidence- and theory-based intervention, delivered by short message service, which supported weight loss and weight loss maintenance in the postpartum period. Design Stage 1 involved the development of a library of short message service messages to support weight loss and weight loss maintenance, with personal and public involvement, focusing on diet and physical activity with embedded behaviour change techniques, and the programming of a short message service platform to allow fully automated intervention delivery. Stage 2 comprised a 12-month, single-centre, two-arm, pilot, randomised controlled trial with an active control. Setting This study was set in Northern Ireland; women were recruited via community-based approaches. Participants A total of 100 women with overweight or obesity who had given birth in the previous 24 months were recruited. Interventions The intervention group received an automated short message service intervention about weight loss and weight loss maintenance for 12 months. The active control group received automated short message service messages about child health and development for 12 months. Main outcome measures The main outcomes measured were the feasibility of recruitment and retention, acceptability of the intervention and trial procedures, and evidence of positive indicative effects on weight. Weight, waist circumference and blood pressure were measured by the researchers; participants completed a questionnaire booklet and wore a sealed pedometer for 7 days at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Outcome assessments were collected during home visits and women received a voucher on completion of each of the assessments. Qualitative interviews were conducted with women at 3 and 12 months, to gather feedback on the intervention and active control and the study procedures. Quantitative and qualitative data were used to inform the process evaluation and to assess fidelity, acceptability, dose, reach, recruitment, retention, contamination and context. Results The recruitment target of 100 participants was achieved (intervention, n = 51; control, n = 49); the mean age was 32.5 years (standard deviation 4.3 years); 28 (28%) participants had a household income of

Public Health Research: Volume 8, Issue 4

FundersPublic Health Research Programme and Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland
Publication date31/03/2020
Date accepted by journal01/08/2019
PublisherNational Institute for Health Research

People (2)


Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Psychology

Professor Pat Hoddinott

Professor Pat Hoddinott

Chair in Primary Care, NMAHP