Use of Formative Research and Social Marketing Principles in the

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					  Use of Formative Research and Social
Marketing Principles in the Development of
an Adolescent Physical Activity Program

            Brad L. Neiger, Ph.D., CHES,
          Rosemary Thackeray, Ph.D, MPH,
           Michael D. Barnes, Ph.D, CHES,
              Susan B. Hill, Ph.D, CHES

    Department of Health Science, College of Health and
      Human Performance, Brigham Young University
     Only 64% of US
adolescents in grades 9-12
  participate in activities
that make them sweat and
 breathe hard for at least
  20 minutes on at least
   three days per week
      (1999 YRBS).

The purpose of this study is to describe
the value of formative research in
developing a social marketing-based
physical activity program for
A randomized telephone survey was conducted among
 600 adolescents in Utah (51% females, 49% males; ages
 12 to 18, mean = 14.8 years).

Questions were developed from national physical activity
 surveys and from focus groups among the target
 audience. Pilot testing among 50 adolescents resulted in
 minor revisions to items and procedures.

Questions related to physical activity, product, price,
 place, promotion (4 P’s), and other characteristics of
 social marketing.
           RESULTS: Product
Respondents expressed a preference for a
variety of activities. Basketball was the most
commonly reported activity, followed by biking,
jogging, running, and swimming. Preferences
for activities in school included basketball,
football, and running or track. General, but not
school preferences, are closely linked to
“lifetime physical activity.”
            RESULTS: “Product”
Benefits to being physically active included having fun,
 staying in shape, and being healthy.

Respondents indicated that joining a sports club (88%),
 participating in intramurals or city recreation teams with
 people their age (79%), and having more places to do
 physical activity (76%), would be most helpful in
 increasing physical activity.

The least preferred interventions were a book or
 videotape, or advice from a doctor or school nurse.
           RESULTS: “Price”
Barriers to physical activity included long
distances to physical activity facilities, costs
associated with using the facility, a
perception that they were not the “jock” or
“sporting type,” not having enough time for
physical activity, and being out of shape.
            RESULTS: “Place”
Females were more likely to report using a pool
 or walking trail while males were more likely to
 use a basketball court, or football/soccer fields.
Respondents participated in physical activity
 primarily at home (80%) and at school (82%).
52% of males and 51% of females reported
 being currently enrolled in a physical education
70% of respondents participated in physical
 activity with their friends.
       RESULTS: “Promotion”
Respondents indicated their most reliable
sources of information about physical activity
were friends and parents. The most
frequently reported channel of information
about physical activity was radio.
Physical activity projects were piloted at Provo
 High School and the North Cache Middle School
 (grades 8-9) in Bear River.

A physical activity resource directory was
 distributed to students informing them of all
 community resources including cost, location,
 hours, and appropriate dates.
Twenty $500 mini-grants were distributed to
 communities throughout Utah to promote physical
 activity among adolescents. Many different activities
 were developed through these grants, such as water
 polo clubs, inner-city youth sports programs, youth
 exercise and nutrition classes, and summer activity

Physical activity and nutrition were promoted through a
 Gold Medal School project (related to the 2002 Winter
 Games in Salt Lake City).
A digital marquee and bulletin board were
 assembled at Provo High School to advertise
 club activities and community events that
 involved physical activity.
Funding was provided to each school to
 purchase physical activity equipment to improve
 intramural programs.
A summer physical activity program was
 developed in Bear River.
The results from formative research provided a clear
 direction in the development of a social marketing
 based, public health program to increase physical
 activity among adolescents.

Survey results revealed a preference for lifetime
 physical activities including non-competitive sports,
 clubs for fun, and participation in intramural or city
 recreation teams. This is supported by Healthy People
Interpersonal communication may be the most important
 Messages about physical activity should include the benefit
 of spending time with friends.

While survey respondents indicated that there were several
 places to engage in physical activity in their communities,
 few reported using those within the past week. This is
 contrasted with adolescent opinion that more places to do
 physical activity would help them be more active. The
 implication is that the barriers to using community facilities
 should be addressed (i.e., reducing costs). Furthermore,
 awareness of opportunities for physical activity should be
Time is the most commonly reported
reason for adults not engaging in
physical activity. According to
survey results, this barrier also occurs in
adolescence. Therefore, messages
should include time management
strategies, including how to fit physical
activity in to a busy schedule.
Additionally, it may be necessary to
create a message that physical activity
should be a part of daily living.
The marketing mix is a core component of a
 social marketing program.
     Lefebvre, R. C., & Flora, J. A. (1988). Social
  marketing and public health intervention. Health
  Education Quarterly, 15(3), 299-315.

The acid test of a social marketing program is
 the integration of the marketing mix.
      Smith, W. A. (1997). Social marketing: beyond
  the nostalgia. In M. E. Goldberg, M. Fishbein, & S. E.
  Middlestadt (Eds.), Social marketing. Theoretical and
  practical perspectives (pp. 21-28). Mahwah, NJ:
  Lawrence Erlbaum.

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