Open Access Study protocol

Moving MobileMums forward: protocol for a larger randomized controlled trial of an improved physical activity program for women with young children

Alison L Marshall1, Yvette D Miller12*, Nicholas Graves1, Adrian G Barnett1 and Brianna S Fjeldsoe3

Author Affiliations

1 Queensland University of Technology, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Brisbane, Australia

2 The University of Queensland, School of Psychology, Brisbane, Australia

3 The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Cancer Prevention Research Centre, Brisbane, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:593  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-593

Published: 19 June 2013



Women with young children (under 5 years) are a key population group for physical activity intervention. Previous evidence highlights the need for individually tailored programs with flexible delivery mechanisms for this group. Our previous pilot study suggested that an intervention primarily delivered via mobile phone text messaging (MobileMums) increased self-reported physical activity in women with young children. An improved version of the MobileMums program is being compared with a minimal contact control group in a large randomised controlled trial (RCT).


This RCT will evaluate the efficacy, feasibility and acceptability, cost-effectiveness, mediators and moderators of the MobileMums program. Primary (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and secondary (intervention implementation data, health service use costs, intervention costs, health benefits, theoretical constructs) outcomes are assessed at baseline, 3-months (end of intervention) and 9-months (following 6-month no contact: maintenance period).

The intervention commences with a face-to-face session with a behavioural counsellor to initiate rapport and gather information for tailoring the 12-week text message program. During the program participants also have access to a: MobileMums Participant Handbook, MobileMums refrigerator magnet, MobileMums Facebook© group, and a MobileMums website with a searchable, on-line exercise directory. A nominated support person also receives text messages for 12-weeks encouraging them to offer their MobileMum social support for physical activity.


Results of this trial will determine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the MobileMums program, and the feasibility of delivering it in a community setting. It will inform the broader literature of physical activity interventions for women with young children and determine whether further investment in the translation of the program is warranted.

Trial registration

The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611000481976).

Text message; SMS; Mobile telephone; Postnatal women; Exercise; Intervention