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Am J Prev Med. 2001 Jul;21(1):41-7.

Impact of an Australian mass media campaign targeting physical activity in 1998.

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  • 1School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



Physical activity is now a public health priority, but there is only limited evidence on the effectiveness of mass-reach campaigns.


Paid and unpaid television and print-media advertising, physician mail-outs, and community-level support programs and strategies.


A mass-media statewide campaign to promote regular moderate-intensity activity was conducted during February 1998. The target group was adults aged 25 to 60 who were motivated but insufficiently active.


Cohort and independent-sample, cross-sectional representative population surveys, before and after the campaign. The intervention was conducted in the state of New South Wales, with the other states of Australia as the comparison region.


Telephone survey items on physical activity, media message awareness, physical activity knowledge, self-efficacy, and intentions.


Unprompted recall of the activity messages in the campaign state increased substantially from 2.1% to 20.9% (p<0.01), with small changes elsewhere in Australia (1.2% to 2.6%). There were large changes in prompted awareness from 12.9% to 50.7% (p<0.0001), much larger than changes elsewhere (14.1% to 16%, p=0.06). Knowledge of appropriate moderate-intensity activity and physical activity self-efficacy increased significantly and only in the campaign state. Compared to all others, those in the target group who recalled the media message were 2.08 times more likely to increase their activity by at least an hour per week (95% confidence interval = 1.51-2.86).


This integrated campaign positively influenced short-term physical activity message recall, knowledge, and behavior of the target population, compared to the population in the region who were not exposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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