Importance: Cardiovascular disease prevention, including lifestyle modification, is important but underutilized. Mobile health strategies could address this gap but lack evidence of therapeutic benefit.
Objective: To examine the effect of a lifestyle-focused semipersonalized support program delivered by mobile phone text message on cardiovascular risk factors.
Design and setting: The Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME) trial was a parallel-group, single-blind, randomized clinical trial that recruited 710 patients (mean age, 58 [SD, 9.2] years; 82% men; 53% current smokers) with proven coronary heart disease (prior myocardial infarction or proven angiographically) between September 2011 and November 2013 from a large tertiary hospital in Sydney, Australia.
Interventions: Patients in the intervention group (n = 352) received 4 text messages per week for 6 months in addition to usual care. Text messages provided advice, motivational reminders, and support to change lifestyle behaviors. Patients in the control group (n=358) received usual care. Messages for each participant were selected from a bank of messages according to baseline characteristics (eg, smoking) and delivered via an automated computerized message management system. The program was not interactive.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary end point was low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level at 6 months. Secondary end points included systolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, and smoking status.
Results: At 6 months, levels of LDL-C were significantly lower in intervention participants, with concurrent reductions in systolic blood pressure and BMI, significant increases in physical activity, and a significant reduction in smoking. The majority reported the text messages to be useful (91%), easy to understand (97%), and appropriate in frequency (86%). [table: see text].
Conclusions and relevance: Among patients with coronary heart disease, the use of a lifestyle-focused text messaging service compared with usual care resulted in a modest improvement in LDL-C level and greater improvement in other cardiovascular disease risk factors. The duration of these effects and hence whether they result in improved clinical outcomes remain to be determined.
Trial registration: anzctr.org.au Identifier: ACTRN12611000161921.