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Health Educ Res. 2005 Aug;20(4):430-8. Epub 2004 Nov 30.

Comparing demographic, health status and psychosocial strategies of audience segmentation to promote physical activity.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The goal of audience segmentation is to identify population subgroups that are homogeneous with respect to certain variables associated with a given outcome or behavior. When such groups are identified and understood, targeted intervention strategies can be developed to address their unique characteristics and needs. This study compares the results of audience segmentation for physical activity that is based on either demographic, health status or psychosocial variables alone, or a combination of all three types of variables. Participants were 1090 African-American and White adults from two public health centers in St Louis, MO. Using a classification-tree algorithm to form homogeneous groups, analyses showed that more segments with greater variability in physical activity were created using psychosocial versus health status or demographic variables and that a combination of the three outperformed any individual set of variables. Simple segmentation strategies such as those relying on demographic variables alone provided little improvement over no segmentation at all. Audience segmentation appears to yield more homogeneous subgroups when psychosocial and health status factors are combined with demographic variables.

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