Darryl Herring III
Research Mentor(s): Susan Woolford, Associate Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Pediatrics, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 20
Darryl Herring Youth Messaging Preferences in a Tailored mHealth Intervention Darryl Herring1, Juliet Villegas1, MA, Aria Grabowski1, MPH, Theresa Kowalski-Dobson1, MPH, Susan J. Woolford1, MD, MPH 1Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Titles: Juliet (Project Manager), Aria (Research Assistant), Theresa (Former Project Manager), Dr. Woolford (Principle Investigator) Background: Obesity is prevalent among adolescents living in the United States, and Black/African American and Hispanic/LatinX adolescents are disproportionately affected. Between 2018-19, the prevalence of obesity for Caucasian youth aged 10-17 years old was 11.5%, while the prevalence for Hispanic youth was 20.7%, and for Black youth the prevalence was 22.9%. Recent studies have shown that fast food franchises target areas with a high density of minority youth, leading to increased fast food consumption. However, with the emerging use of technology, mobile applications can help encourage adolescents to make healthier food choices and improve daily health habits. Tailored app content including images that are viewed as appealing and personally relevant provide a promising way to increase the effectiveness of mHealth applications. Yet little is known about Hispanic/Latinx teens’ preferences regarding images to be used in a health promotion app. Methods: Hispanic/LatinX adolescents of 13-17 years of age were recruited nationwide in the Spring/Summer of 2020 to complete an online survey exploring preferences for content to be included in the Health Kick mobile app.. Facebook Advertising and UMHealthResearch.org were used to recruit participants, along with the help of The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) recruitment core. The 40-item survey included questions about participants’ eating habits, ethnic identity, and preferences regarding the content of messages (e.g., messaging containing sustainability themes vs. messages incorporating body positive themes). In addition, a variety of images were presented depicting a range of factors (e.g., subjects of different ages, different body sizes, photographs vs. cartoons, and images of people vs. pictures of food). Data were collated and descriptive statistics utilized to inform the choice of graphics to be used in app development. Results: The average age of participants (n=22) was 16 years old, with most identifying as male (55%). All respondents identified as Hispanic/Latinx. The survey results showed that participants tended to prefer images portraying people their age or younger, in comparison to someone older than themselves. Just over half 59%) of participants preferred images showing leaner individuals rather than those with excess weight. Most (64%) preferred images with people, whereas a minority (41%) preferred images depicting food items. Almost all participants (90%) liked the use of cartoon images. Images and messages with body-positive and sustainability themes were liked almost equally, with a slight preference being shown towards sustainability focused images (77%). Conclusion: Common themes and preferences were identified using survey results which will help guide tailored messaging content for Hispanic/Latinx youth. Tailored health messaging offers a potentially effective approach in mHealth interventions, however, more research needs to be conducted to measure the effectiveness of this tailoring and expand results to youth from a variety of backgrounds.