Wheeling Walks Training Manual

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Chapter 1:
Mass Media Public Health Campaign:
Designing a Campaign for Your Community
Choosing a Target Population
Involving the Whole Community

Designing a Campaign for Your Community

In this manual, there are many ideas about how to organize a media-based walking campaign. What you choose to do will depend on 3 things:

  • amount of funding,
  • number of staff and volunteers, and
  • length (time) of the campaign.

Choosing a Target Population

Before implementing any health promotion campaign, you must identify your target population. The target population is the group or groups of people you hope to affect by your campaign. The WHEELING WALKS campaign targeted people 50?65 year olds who were insufficiently active.

Note: We now believe the WHEELING WALKS campaign materials would be effective for a broader adult population--40-75 years of age.

Factors affecting your target population decision:

  • Size of your community.
  • Target population. Mass media campaign can most dramatically impact a specific demographic, a defined population.
  • Health needs of your community. Do some members of your community have specific health conditions that may improve by participating in a walking program?
  • Sponsors of your campaign. With what populations do your sponsors commonly work? The target of program sponsors need to match that of the campaign.
  • Resources available. Do you have the funds and manpower to conduct a five-component (paid ads, public relations, public health activities, policy, and environmental change) campaign? If not, you may want to conduct a two-component (paid ads and public relations only) campaign, that will cost about one half the dollars and energy as a five-component campaign, which we found to be even more cost effective when targeting low-fat mild consumption and sales.
  • Characteristics of your community. What is the average income? Do the residents read the newspaper? Do they listen to the radio? How much TV do they watch?

Determine the channels they are most likely to use and focus on these.

  • What segment of your community will you be more likely to reach and will benefit most from your campaign goal? Our goal: ?Walk at least 30 minutes or more daily!?

Involving the Whole Community

Community involvement is invaluable to public relations, public health events, policy and environmental change. Even if a subgroup of the community is chosen as the target of a media-based walking campaign, for example, 40-75 year olds, it is important to involve the whole community in the public relations, the public health events, and almost any way you can. Involving the whole community will increase awareness about and participation in your campaign.

Note: Even though WHEELING WALKS targeted the 50-65 year-old population, we did not ignore the rest of the community. Again, any time you have a crowd you get more attention from the media; and TV media reaches a lot more people with the message than one would with the public health activity alone.

Behavior, belief, policy, and environmental changes will not happen without involving community members in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of the campaign. The Community Health Participation Program (see Chapter 3) is a good means for making this happen.

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