271953 Obesity--Correctly Identified

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 5:24 PM - 5:27 PM

Tracy Boyle, MA , Marketing Department, LiveWell Colorado, Denver, CO
LiveWell Colorado, a nonprofit committed to preventing and reducing obesity, commissioned a survey (n=1,107) in 2010, plus conducted nine focus groups of a total of 100 mothers. The research showed many Coloradans perceived obesity incorrectly–often as morbidly obese—and underestimated their own weight-related health risk relative to other people. Qualitative research demonstrated that until people made a personal connection to obesity, and didn't see it as "someone else's problem," they were less likely to make healthy behavior changes.

LiveWell Colorado developed a statewide social marketing campaign to address misconceptions about obesity as the first stage of creating healthy behavior changes. The campaign consisted of TV ads that showed obesity is not as extreme as people think, and that this “new normal” is not healthy for adults or their families. The ads encouraged viewers to go to www.livewellcolorado.org to find out if they are at risk for obesity-related disease by taking an online “Gut Check” consisting of BMI and other indicators. The website also provides resources for easy behavior changes, awakening testimonial videos, healthy recipes, an online community for LiveWell Moms, blogs, and integration with social media.

After nine months, LiveWell conducted another statewide survey (n=1,100) with the same methodology as the first survey. 37% of respondents recalled the campaign unprompted, and 56% recalled when prompted. Of those who remembered seeing the campaign, 48% said it changed their image of the obesity problem in Colorado, 51% said it made them think about improving their own health, 28% wondered about their own weight status, and 18% found out their weight status. The campaign also increased correct perceptions of obesity in others and themselves. Correct identification of an obese male and obese female, based upon height, weight and gender, improved an average nine percentage points.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how correcting the misconceptions about obesity is a critical part of the behavior change model in improving healthy eating and physical activity.

Keywords: Obesity, Media Campaigns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been managing social marketing campaigns for more than seven years, working on behavior change efforts to increase healthy eating and physical activity, birth control usage, water conservation, children's oral health and air quality. I have made numerous presentations on social marketing.
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.

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