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Strengthening the evidence base for maternal and child health programs

New: MCH Best strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCH Best. NPM 8: Physical Activity

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Strategy. Mass Communication Strategies Combined with Other Efforts

Approach. Use mass media strategies (e.g., posters, flyers, websites) in conjunction with other strategies to promote physical activity.

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Overview. Mass communication strategies have shown to be effective in increasing physical activity in children and adolescents when used in conjunction with other strategies.1

Evidence. Mixed Evidence. Mass communication strategies such as posters, flyers, information booklets, websites, maps, and media campaigns has shown to be effective in increasing levels of physical activity when combined with other interventions. This strategy has been tested more than once and results trend positive overall in the majority of studies. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. Access additional peer-reviewed evidence through the Cochrane Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Community.

Outcome. Increased level of physical activity. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. There are currently 3 ESMs across all states/jurisdictions that use this strategy directly or intervention components that align with this strategy. Access descriptions of these ESMs through the MCH Digital Library. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Use mass media strategies (e.g., posters, flyers, websites) in conjunction with other strategies to promote physical activity,” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of community members that visit MCH social media and online marketing materials that include positive physical activity messages (e.g., physical activity, healthy lifestyle messages, and activity challenges).

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of community members that visit MCH social media and online marketing materials that include positive physical activity messages (e.g., physical activity, healthy lifestyle messages, and activity challenges).

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of community members that visit MCH social media and online marketing materials that include positive physical activity messages (e.g., physical activity, healthy lifestyle messages, and activity challenges) who report an increase in knowledge following material consumption.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of community members that visit MCH social media and online marketing materials that include positive physical activity messages (e.g., physical activity, healthy lifestyle messages, and activity challenges) who report an increase in knowledge following material consumption.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


Reference:

1 Lau, P. W., Lau, E. Y., Wong, D. P., & Ransdell, L. (2011). A systematic review of information and communication technology–based interventions for promoting physical activity behavior change in children and adolescents. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(3), e48.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.