Evaluation of a Targeted Social Marketing Campaign Promoting Nutrition and Physical Activity to SNAP-Ed Eligible Adults in Alabama
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Obesity and its comorbidities disproportionately affect individuals with limited resources, minority populations, and those in the Southeastern United States (Warren, Beck, & Delgado, 2020). Adults with limited resources face many barriers to obtaining health education and changing behaviors including limited money, time, childcare, transportation, and access. Therefore, a variety of approaches at the individual and societal levels is necessary to reduce and prevent obesity. The role of social marketing in obesity prevention is to understand the individual and environmental barriers to behavior change and to provide targeted educational messages within multi-component interventions to audiences most in need of behavioral support. The Live Well Alabama campaign utilized numerous evidence-based methods for building brand awareness and disseminating messages to parents of elementary-aged children with limited resources. The largest component of the campaign was a 12-week, statewide billboard campaign comprised of three messages promoting 1) fruit and vegetable consumption, 2) physical activity, and 3) water consumption. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between exposure to this social marketing campaign and nutrition and physical activity behaviors among its target audience. Of the 366 respondents, a slight majority (50.5%) reported seeing at least one billboard during the outdoor advertising campaign. When compared to respondents who were not exposed to campaign messages, exposed respondents generally reported better health, increased readiness to change behavior, and greater integration of target behaviors into daily life. Specifically, exposed respondents reported significantly higher fruit and water consumption. Exposed respondents also were significantly more likely to be in action or maintenance stages for fruit consumption and physical activity than their unexposed counterparts. The most commonly reported barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity were being too busy, not liking or already eating enough fruits and vegetables, the expense of fruits and vegetables, and poor physical health. Despite these barriers, the majority of respondents were in the preparation stage or higher for changing fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity behaviors, indicating a general awareness of a need for change and an openness to education and support. In addition to findings related to exposure and behavior, respondents self-reported behavior change in response to campaign messages. This evaluation of the Live Well Alabama social marketing campaign yielded promising insights into the reach and potential effects among the target population, which warrants continued campaign implementation and evaluation.