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USDA Eat Smart. Play Hard. Campaign: An update

Judy F. Wilson, RD, MSPH1, Jean M. Altman, MS2, Marion Hinners, MS2, and R. Jane Mandell, MS, RD3. (1) US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, 1014, Alexandria, VA 22302, 703-305-2585, judy.wilson@fns.usda.gov, (2) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1014, Alexandria, VA 22302, (3) US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1014, Alexandria, VA 22302

In July 2000, the U.S. Department of Agricultureís Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) launched a progressive, five-year nutrition education campaign. The Campaign, Eat Smart. Play Hard.TM conveys science-based, behavior-focused nutrition messages about healthy eating and physical activity, based on the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Campaign is designed to motivate consumers to make healthy eating and physical activity choices. The primary target audience for the campaign is school aged children (age 8 to 12 years) and their caregivers. The campaign has been designed to reach consumers participating or who are eligible to participate, in the various federal nutrition assistance programs. The campaign uses a variety of approaches to reach the target group where they live, learn, work and play. Communication vehicles and strategies developed in Phase I of the Campaign include a Power Panther Spokescharacter, slogan, posters, parent brochures, activity sheets for kids as well as promotional materials. Recent additions are the website, training and promotional materials, communications tools including songs, PSAs, screensavers, stickers, and table tents. In addition, functional educational materials were developed such as bookmarks, window clings, and book covers that make the key message a part of common items used in everyday life. Many of these materials are now available in Spanish as well. Since the inception of the Campaign, all 50 States and all of the federal nutrition programs have participated in this effort ordering more than 10 million copies of the various educational materials. The web page for the Campaign, launched in February 2003 receives in excess of 100,000 visits most months. Power Panther, the Spokescharacter for the campaign, has made over 250 visits to schools, clinics, and communities across the Country, including visits to the White House, Special Olympics, and the World Series. The Campaign is one of the initiatives in the Presidentís Healthier US effort. Future plans include an interactive kidsí site, parentís page, PSAs and other new communication tools. A long-range plan is now being formulated to guide future developments, including further audience segmentation and new communication strategies. The presentation will include an overview of these activities including the formative research and results of focus groups.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Nutrition, Health Promotion

Related Web page: www.usda.gov

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: USDA, Food and Nutrition Service
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Spotlight on the Youth Obesity Epidemic

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA