self-efficacy, text messaging, weight loss, young adult



  1. Stephens, Janna D. PhD, RN
  2. Yager, Allison M. BS
  3. Allen, Jerilyn RN, ScD, FAAN


Background: Using smartphone technology and text messaging for health is a growing field. This type of technology is well integrated into the lives of young adults. However, few studies have tested the effect of this type of technology to promote weight loss in young adults


Objective: The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness of a behaviorally based smartphone application for weight loss combined with text messaging from a health coach on weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference in young adults as compared with a control condition.


Methods: Sixty-two young adults, aged 18 to 25 years, were randomized to receive (1) a smartphone application + health coach intervention and counseling sessions or (2) control condition with a counseling session. All outcome measures were tested at baseline and 3 months. These included weight, BMI, waist circumference, dietary habits, physical activity habits, and self-efficacy for healthy eating and physical activity.


Results: The sample was 71% female and 39% white, with an average age of 20 years and average BMI of 28.5 kg/m2. Participants in the smartphone + health coach group lost significantly more weight (P = .026) and had a significant reduction in both BMI (P = .024) and waist circumference (P < .01) compared with controls.


Conclusions: The results of this weight loss trial support the use of smartphone technology and feedback from a health coach on improving weight in a group of diverse young adults.