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Am J Prev Med. 2006 Oct;31(4 Suppl):S11-23.

A convergent diffusion and social marketing approach for disseminating proven approaches to physical activity promotion.

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  • 1Clinical Research Unit, Kaiser Permanente of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA.


Approaches from diffusion of innovations and social marketing are used here to propose efficient means to promote and enhance the dissemination of evidence-based physical activity programs. While both approaches have traditionally been conceptualized as top-down, center-to-periphery, centralized efforts at social change, their operational methods have usually differed. The operational methods of diffusion theory have a strong relational emphasis, while the operational methods of social marketing have a strong transactional emphasis. Here, we argue for a convergence of diffusion of innovation and social marketing principles to stimulate the efficient dissemination of proven-effective programs. In general terms, we are encouraging a focus on societal sectors as a logical and efficient means for enhancing the impact of dissemination efforts. This requires an understanding of complex organizations and the functional roles played by different individuals in such organizations. In specific terms, ten principles are provided for working effectively within societal sectors and enhancing user involvement in the processes of adoption and implementation.

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