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Evaluation of mass media campaigns for physical activity

Bauman, A.E., Smith, B.J., Maibach, E.W., & Reger-Nash, B. (2006). Evaluation of mass media campaigns for physical activity.

Mass media campaigns are an important first step in raising awareness about physical activity and health in the general community. The US Surgeon General in 1996 released a report outlining the evidence base for the half-hour a day moderate intensity physical activity message for health. This message needs to be understood and accepted by the community and by stakeholders. Efforts to promote this message start with coordinated public education mass media communications campaigns, to inform and persuade the population to think about and trial physical activity behaviors. The evaluation of such interventions follows good practice for media campaigns in general, with careful attention to formative, process and impact levels of evaluation. Most important, and most often neglected, is the formative stage of developing effective communications messages that are relevant for the proposed target populations. Monitoring the implementation of the mass media campaign, known as process evaluation, is also important. The effectiveness of mass media campaigns (impact evaluation) is assessed through measures of proximal effects in populations; these measures include campaign and message awareness and understanding and attitudes towards the new physical activity message. New designs and statistical techniques add to the research armamentarium to ascertain the effects of these campaigns.

Uitgever(s): Elsevier Ltd.,


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Adrian Bauman
Ben Smith
Edward Maibach
Bill Reger-Nash

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