197494 ChildHood Overweight and Obesity Starts Early (CHOOSE). So Should Prevention: A social marketing campaign in New York's Greater Capital Region

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:45 PM

Steven Szebenyi, MD, MMM , Foundation for Healthy Living, Latham, NY
JoAnn Stevelos , Foundation for Healthy Living, Latham, NY
Abbie Archibald, MPH, CPH , Foundation for Healthy Living, Latham, NY
Carin Upstill , Foundation for Healthy Living, Latham, NY
Mike Newton-Ward, MSW, MPH , Social Marketing Consultant, Raleigh, NC
Sarah Kralovic , Foundation for Healthy Living, Latham, NY
One in four New York State children is overweight or obese, yet three quarters of parents do not recognize their children as overweight. Despite this high prevalence, there has been very little research targeting behavior change to prevent obesity in preschoolers. Since parents are often the gatekeepers and role models for developing healthy behaviors in young children, they are in a key position to help prevent childhood obesity. To increase community awareness about pediatric obesity, we formed a public/private sector collaboration to develop the CHOOSE social marketing campaign targeting parents of 2-5 year olds. The campaign ran for four months in New York's Greater Capital Region. The CHOOSE campaign included billboards, a website (www.HealthyKidsNY.org), an online parent-community survey in a widely read regional newspaper, and educational materials. CFBP staff found that most existing childhood obesity prevention messages were fear-based and insensitive to the psycho-social impact of obesity in the pediatric population. CHOOSE messages were developed based on information gained through parent focus groups and the application of behavior change theories, the four P's of social marketing and the best practices for outdoor advertising. Messages and designs were pre-tested among a representative sample of the target audience and reviewed by an expert panel for cultural sensitivity. Evaluation was conducted through 1) potential reach; determined to be 18 million exposures during the billboard campaign based on estimated daily traffic counts, and 2) web traffic counts on HealthyKidsNY.org; viewed 5,657 times by 2,973 visitors. The online community survey was completed by 256 parents.

Learning Objectives:
1. List the steps taken to develop and carry out a successful social marketing campaign that addresses culturally sensitive and psychosocial issues when targeting parents of young children 2. Describe the benefits of engaging non-traditional partners in the message design, development and dissemination 3. Discuss the pros and cons of using mass media to raise awareness about the pediatric obesity epidemic

Keywords: Obesity, Social Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the Director of the Center for Best Practices for the Prevention of Early Childhood Overweight and Obesity and managed all aspects of the CHOOSE social marketing campaign
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.