Retention and engagement of rural caregivers of adolescents in a short message service intervention to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage intake

Maryam Yuhas, Donna Jean P. Brock, Lee M. Ritterband, Philip I. Chow, Kathleen J. Porter, Jamie M. Zoellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigates a 6-month short message service (SMS) intervention to reduce adolescent sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake. The objectives are to describe caregiver retention and SMS engagement as well as explore differences by caregiver characteristics. Methods: Caregivers completed a baseline survey then messages were sent two times per week. Message types included the following: SSB intake assessments, educational information, infographic URLs, and strategies. Engagement was measured through interaction with these messages and included: assessment completion, reminders needed, number of strategies chosen, and URLs clicked. Results: Caregivers (n = 357) had an average baseline SSB intake of 23.9 (SD = 26.8) oz/day. Of those, 89% were retained. Caregivers with a greater income and education were retained at a higher rate. Average engagement included: 4.1 (SD = 1.3) of 5 assessments completed with few reminders needed [4.1 (SD = 3.7) of 14 possible], 3.2 (SD = 1.1) of 4 strategies selected, and 1.2 (SD = 1.6) of 5 URLs clicked. Overall, average engagement was relatively high, even where disparities were found. Demographic characteristics that were statistically related to lower engagement included younger age, lower income, lower educational attainment, single caregivers, lower health literacy. Furthermore, caregivers with a reduced intention to change SSB behaviors completed fewer assessments and needed more reminders. Higher baseline SSB intake was associated with lower engagement across all indicators except URL clicks. Conclusions: Results can be used to develop targeted retention and engagement strategies (e.g., just-in-time and/or adaptive interventions) in rural SMS interventions for identified demographic subsets. Trial registration: NCT03740113.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDigital Health
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Text-message
  • adolescents
  • caregivers
  • engagement
  • mHealth
  • parents
  • retention
  • sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Retention and engagement of rural caregivers of adolescents in a short message service intervention to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage intake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this