Using strategic social marketing to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors to parents and children in Switzerland: the development of FAN.

Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione (FAN), was a community-based social marketing initiative in Canton Ticino, Switzerland aimed at reducing obesity in children ages 6 to 12. Before the start of the program, researchers gathered information about participant’ behavior and preferences related to nutrition and physical activity and their needs and expectations in order to ensure materials developed for the program would be useful. Recruitment was conducted through school and other venues via brochures, posters, and media outlets. To register their children, parents completed an online form on the FAN website and were then contacted by the research team who asked for the completion of additional materials including a baseline survey (done by both parents and children) and a signed consent form. FAN communicated directly with children and parents on a weekly basis through print, web, e-mail, and mobile phones about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity, and ways in which to improve or maintain healthy eating behaviors and physical activity levels. Short videos about physical activity and nutrition modeled desired behaviors and graphics portraying a family modeling healthy behaviors were designed to compliment written communications and were specifically tailored to meet the needs of participants. Post-intervention, follow-up questionnaires were used to evaluate participant satisfaction with the program. In total, 555 families enrolled in FAN with 543 of those deemed eligible for participation. Almost 85% of parents evaluated FAN positively with the majority stating that FAN met their expectations (65%), motivated them to eat healthier (60%), and engage in more physical activity (40%).

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