A comparison of different approaches to promote community-wide dietary change.
Reger-B; Wootan-MG; Booth-Butterfield-S
Am J Prev Med 2000 May; 18(4):271-275
Background: Because public health education funds are limited, it is important to determine which methods are most effective for promoting healthy lifestyles to communities. We conducted interventions in two communities to further examine the effectiveness of various educational approaches for communicating the "1% Or Less" message to switch from high-fat (whole or 2%) to low-fat (1% or fat-free) milk. Methods: One intervention used public relations and community-based educational activities in supermarkets, schools, worksites, and other community settings. The other used paid advertising in the absence of other programming. We used telephone surveys and supermarket milk sales data, collected before and after each campaign and in a comparison community, to determine changes in milk-usage patterns. Results: After the campaign of community-based educational programs and public relations activities, the proportion of high-fat milk drinkers who reported drinking low-fat milk was 19.6% compared with 6.8% for the comparison city (p<0.0001). After the advertising-only campaign, 12.8% of high-fat milk drinkers reported drinking low-fat milk (p<0.01). Although supermarkets experienced increases in low-fat milk sales after both campaigns, the results were not statistically significant. Conclusions: The results show how well-designed public relations activities can attract news coverage and provide further evidence that such coverage can be an important component of health-promotion campaigns. Although the use of paid advertising in the absence of other media or programming appeared to change milk-drinking habits, the results were not sustained after the ads stopped airing.
Public-health; Education; Health-programs; Health-surveys; Statistical-analysis
MG Wootan, 1875 Connecticut Ave NW,Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009
American Journal of Preventive Medicine