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Text2BHealthy Colorado: An Innovative Way to Connect with Families 

Nov 21, 2018

The Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP) is a creative and fun way for kids to learn about healthy eating in their classroom and to share what they learn with their families. INEP has traditionally reached parents through take-home family letters with recipes, newsletters and school events.  Now a texting intervention makes an even deeper connection to parents around health and wellness. Parents said they appreciate tips and resources for ways to stay healthy that will fit into their busy lives. Text2BHealthy Colorado (T2BH) is a creative way to use technology. It allows INEP to reach more SNAP-Ed eligible families. We have collaborated with Maryland’s SNAP-Ed Text2BHealthy program to develop a version in Colorado. As of June 2018, almost 1,600 parents are receiving weekly texts in English and Spanish about healthy eating, reducing sugary drinks, and increasing physical activity.  

family looking at a phone together

Development of the Program 

Text2BHealthy Colorado started with listening to parents across the state. We learned through interviews with parents how a text messaging program would work best for them. Armed with this information, we designed a program that would fit parents’ needs.  We considered time of day to send messages, number of messages per week, and content of messages. Next, our evaluation team created a logic model based on behavior change theory that incorporated goal setting, self-efficacy, skills, and food-resource management along with a strong evaluation component. 

screen shot of texts

How does it Work? 

Participants receive 2-3 text messages every week with messages about healthy eating, physical activity, drinking water, and reducing sugary drinks.  
Messages include: 

  • goal setting for health
  • fun and easy recipes
  • family-friendly physical activity ideas
  • motivation to keep up the good work
  • links to resources, such as, MyPlate, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Cooking Matters Colorado

 “I love all of your text messages, I write them down in my journal and they all have been helpful for me and my family too, thank you.” 
– Text2BHealthy Parent

Evaluation

This program is in the pilot stage. Evaluation questions will be sent to participants around consumption of fruits, vegetables, water, reduction of sugary beverage intake, and time spent on physical activity. Program participants will also be interviewed for feedback. Evaluation data will be used to monitor the success of the program.  

“We are planning on going to the park after church for a picnic and play. I got a plastic baseball and bat and frisbee. Thank you I am loving the texts.” – Text2BHealthy Parent  

Future Messages

The next phase of the project will launch local campaigns. The local campaigns will have text messages tailored to communities and schools.  They will be promoting farmer’s markets, doubleup food bucks, health-based events, and grocery store sales.  

text2bhealthy screenshot of sign up page

SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework

Indicators used:
ST1 Healthy Eating 
ST3 Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior 
MT1 Healthy Eating Behaviors 
MT2 Food Resource Management Behaviors 
MT3 Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behaviors 


This article was submitted by the Integrated Nutrition Education Program, a SNAP-Ed funded project. For more information contact Julie Atwood or visit the website