Cardiovascular Disease Self-Management: Pilot Testing of an mHealth Healthy Eating Program

Leila Pfaeffli Dale, Robyn Whittaker, Helen Eyles, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Kylie Ball, Natasha Smith and Ralph Maddison; Cardiovascular Disease Self-Management: Pilot Testing of an mHealth Healthy Eating Program. :Journal of Personalized Medicine; [Mar 2014].

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Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is crucial in the management of cardiovascular disease (CVD), yet attendance is poor. Mobile technology (mHealth) offers a potential solution to increase reach of CR. This paper presents two development studies to determine mobile phone usage in adults with CVD and to evaluate the acceptability of an mHealth healthy eating CR program.

Methods: CR attendees were surveyed to determine mobile phone usage rates. A second single-subject pilot study investigated perceptions of a 4-week theory-based healthy eating mHealth program and explored pre-post changes in self-efficacy.

Results: 74 adults with CVD completed the survey (50/74 male; mean age 63 ± 10). Nearly all had mobile phones (70/74; 95%) and used the Internet (69/74; 93%), and most were interested in receiving CR by text message (57/74; 77%). 20 participants took part in the healthy eating pilot study. Participants read all/most of the text messages, and most (19/20) thought using mobile technology was a good way to deliver the program. The website was not widely used as visiting the website was reported to be time consuming. Exploratory t-tests revealed an increase in heart healthy eating self-efficacy post program, in particular the environmental self-efficacy subset (Mean = 0.62, SD = 0.74, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Text messaging was seen as a simple and acceptable way to deliver nutrition information and behavior change strategies; however, future research is needed to determine the effectiveness of such programs.