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Am J Prev Med. 2008 Jun;34(6 Suppl):S267-74. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.03.004.

Influencing the parents of children aged 9-13 years: findings from the VERB campaign.

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  • 1Westat, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.



The CDC's VERB campaign was designed to increase physical activity among children aged 9-13 years (tweens). As part of the strategy to surround tweens with support to be physically active, VERB developed messages for parents, the secondary target audience, to encourage them to support their tween's physical activity.


Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine whether parent awareness of VERB was a significant predictor of seven factors that related to parental attitudes, beliefs, and supportive behaviors for tweens' physical activity using the Youth Media Campaign Longitudinal Survey (YMCLS).


Parents (N=1946) of U.S. children aged 9-13 years.


Advertising directed at tweens through paid television, radio, print, Internet, and schools was the primary VERB intervention; tween advertising could have been also seen by parents. Messages directed at parents encouraging their support of tweens' physical activity were delivered in English through mainly print and radio. In-language messages for Latino and Asian audiences were delivered through print, radio, television, and at events.


Parents' awareness of VERB; parents' attitudes, beliefs, and support for their tweens' physical activities.


Awareness increased each year of the campaign; more than 50% of parents were aware of VERB by the third year of the campaign. Parents reported that their main source of awareness was television, the main channel used to reach tweens. Awareness of VERB was predictive of positive attitudes about physical activity for all children, belief in the importance of physical activity for their own child, and the number of days parents were physically active with their child.


Parents' awareness of VERB was associated with positive attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Parents' awareness probably resulted from a combination of messages directed to parents and tweens. To maximize audience reach, social marketers who are developing health messages should consider the potential value of parents and their children seeing or hearing the same messages, separately or together.

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