Wheeling Walks Training Manual

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Introduction:
WHEELING WALKS Booster Campaigns
WHEELING WALKS Outcomes (Immediately-Post)
Significance of WHEELING WALKS

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WHEELING WALKS Booster Campaigns

As a means for reminding community members about the campaign and the benefits of walking, two one-month booster campaigns were implemented during the fifth and the eleven months of the campaign.

Fifth Month Booster Campaign

We developed a three-event public relations campaign with earned media only for month five of the intervention. However, the unfortunate world events of September 11, 2001, eliminated this booster campaign.

Eleven Month Booster Campaign

This booster included the purchase of 200 television ads, 370 radio ads, and one newspaper ad as well as four press events. The 2nd Annual Mayor?s Fitness Cup was held at the end of the booster campaign.

WHEELING WALKS Outcomes (Immediately-Post)

  • 14% more regular walkers in Wheeling than in comparison city (32.2% in Wheeling and 18% in comparison) as measured by telephone survey self-report results.

  • 12% positive movement to higher stage of readiness for regular walking (Wheeling 62%; comparison 50%) as measured by telephone survey self-report.

    In addition:

  • As measured by telephone survey self-reports, in Wheeling:

    90% knew about campaign
    81% saw or heard news stories
    77% saw campaign TV ads
    33% heard radio ads

    Projected
    ACTUAL
    Registered participants
    1,000
    2,248
    Logged miles walked
    25,000
    28,827
    Worksites enrolled
    5
    40
    Website hits
    1,530
    Presentation heard by
    900+
    Churches with walking programs
    6

  • Earned media results:

    76--TV news stories
    48--radio news stories
    49--newspaper articles(23, front page)
    107--TV/radio interviews/promotions
    2--articles with picture in USA Today

Significance of WHEELING WALKS

This study was intended as a pilot demonstration of an intensive mass media-based methodology with a targeted message. The pilot demonstration was successful. It compared a specific method and message in one community to another community. The goal was to produce an increase in walking among the target population, produce high levels of reception and favorable processing of our messages, and positive changes in perceived control and intention to be physically active.

Overall, the results show that this media-based intervention had a positive effect on the targeted behavior: walking. The summary of results indicates that the intervention: (1) resulted in a 14% net increase in the percentage of sedentary people who reported walking 30 minutes or more at least five days a week; (2) generated progression in stages of change; (3) produced predicted and positive response changes in perceived control beliefs and intention only in the intervention community; (4) created positive messages; (5) earned extensive media coverage with more than 270 television, radio, and newspaper reports in the intervention community; and, (6) achieved 90% penetration of the target population. To date, no other published theory-based, population-level, mass media-based intervention on physical activity has demonstrated results of this magnitude. These preliminary and positive findings point to the public health usefulness of this kind of intervention.

The campaign featured a long-term ecological and community partnership approach. From its inception in August 1999, a 37-member local Advisory Committee provided guidance and support. The mayor of Wheeling, a member of the Advisory Committee, established a task force to improve the community walking facilities through collaboration with the National Park Service, the West Virginia Department of Transportation, and the local rails-to-trails group. These environmental and policy changes will help to promote walking in the community after the completion of this campaign.

Integrated approaches to community-wide promotion of physical activity that use paid advertising and a targeted message, combined with community support and theory-based media campaigns, have the capacity to generate significant earned media, impact targeted physical activity mediators, set the policy agenda, and produce increases in physical activity among sedentary older adults.

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