The National Institutes of Health is spending more than $400,000 sending text messages to Latino men to encourage them to exercise. Link to the study: Developing a Text Message Enhanced Physical Activity Intervention for Latino Men.

The study has cost taxpayers $406,875 so far.

Mexican American ObesityThe University of California, San Diego is conducting the study. The study starts by stating: Mexican American men report particularly low rates of physical activity and are disproportionately burdened by conditions related to sedentary lifestyle like diabetes, obesity.

Yes, there is a high chance you will be “burdened” by “conditions related to a sedentary lifestyle” if you have a “low rate of physical activity.” What else is new? They did not show statistical data on their website as to how disproportionately Mexican American men were burdened compared to any other racial group.

“Mexican-American men report high rates of inactivity and related health conditions. The proposed study seeks to promote physical activity among this at-risk, understudied population by developing interactive and tailored text messages to enhance a print-based physical activity intervention for Spanish- speaking Mexican American men,” a grant for the project said.

“The proposed high-reach, low-cost strategy for increasing physical activity has great potential for adoption on a larger scale and thereby positively impacting public health and eliminating health disparities.”
Latino men “may have limited access to public health interventions promoting physical activity,” according to the project.

Follow-up interviews revealed that the men liked the print materials but also wanted greater accountability, more contact with staff and each other, shorter and more frequent tips, and more updates on activity opportunities.

The project is based on a preliminary study using “culturally and linguistically tailored” print campaigns to encourage Latino men to exercise.

Only 40 percent of the participants met the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week and 30 percent did not exercise at all after reading the materials.

The study will conduct focus groups with Latino men to “identify cultural themes” to use in the text messages.

Sixty Mexican-Americans will then be enrolled in the study for six months. The results will be compared with other men who do not receive text messages in their exercise education program.