Individuals not engaging in recommended amounts of moderate-intensity physical activity are deemed insufficiently active and are at greater risk of chronic disease. Social marketing strategies may promote positive changes in physical activity levels among insufficiently active individuals.
A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether the results of a previous communitywide physical activity social marketing campaign conducted in Wheeling, WVa (population, 31,420) could be replicated in the larger community of Broome County, New York (population, 200,536). BC Walks promoted 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity daily walking among insufficiently active residents of Broome County, New York, aged 40 to 65 years. Promotion activities included paid advertising, media relations, and community health activities. Impact was determined by preintervention and postintervention random-digit-dial cohort telephone surveys in intervention and comparison counties. We assessed demographics, walking behavior, moderate and vigorous physical activity, and campaign awareness.
The paid advertising included 4835 television and 3245 radio gross rating points and 10 quarter-page newspaper advertisements. News media relations resulted in 28 television news stories, 5 radio stories, 10 newspaper stories, and 125 television news promotions. Exposure to the campaign was reported by 78% of Broome County survey respondents. Sixteen percent of Broome County participants changed from nonactive to active walkers; 11% changed from nonactive to active walkers in the comparison county (adjusted odds ratio, 1.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.99-2.95). Forty-seven percent of Broome County respondents reported any increase in total weekly walking time, compared with 36% for the comparison county (adjusted odds ratio, 1.66; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-2.44).
The BC Walks campaign replicated the earlier Wheeling Walks initiative, although increases in walking were smaller in the BC Walks campaign.
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