The S project was designed as a randomised controlled trial with simultaneous brief interventions.The study population was randomised to receive messages about either safer sex or sun safety over a 4-month period.Multimedia message service (MMS), which allows transfer of image, video, audio and text, may also be a useful tool for health promotion.The access, speed and low cost of SMS have led to a variety of health-related applications including appointment, vaccination and medication reminders, disease self-management, diagnostic testing and results and health promotion interventions [2–6].A British survey of 1500 young people aged 11–20 years found only one-third (32%) were happy to receive advertising on mobile phones—but 71% were happy to receive advertising targeted to their interests, 76% were happy to receive advertising in exchange for discounts or special offers and 82% were happy to receive advertising in exchange for top-up credit .To date, no studies have been conducted that utilise mobile advertising to reach individuals to promote health-related behaviour change.In this article, we describe a study of the use of SMS for health promotion at a population level.
The sun group had no change in hat-wearing frequency compared with a significant decline in hat-wearing frequency in the sex group.
Mobile advertising subscribers aged 16–29 years residing in Victoria, Australia ( = 7606) were randomised to the ‘sex’ or ‘sun’ group and received eight messages during the 2008–2009 summer period.
Changes in sex- and sun-related knowledge and behaviour were measured by questionnaires completed on mobile phones.
This is the first study of mobile advertising for health promotion, which can successfully reach most young people.
Challenges experienced with project implementation and evaluation should be considered as new technological approaches to health promotion continue to be expanded.
More recently, Armstrong investigated the use of SMS to increase sunscreen adherence among American adults, finding those who received daily SMS reminders were significantly more likely to apply sunscreen daily compared with those not receiving the messages .