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Am J Prev Med. 2012 Nov;43(5 Suppl 4):S320-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.07.005.

Programs and promotions: approaches by 25 Active Living by Design partnerships.

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  • 1Active Living by Design, North Carolina Institute for Public Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.



From 2003 to 2008, a total of 25 community partnerships funded through Active Living by Design (ALbD) implemented physical activity programs and promotions as part of integrated approaches complementing policy and environment changes.


This paper reviews the partnerships' efforts with respect to promotions and programs, the breadth and depth of these types of approaches, challenges, successes, and lessons learned.


Through a mixed-methods approach, including interviews, focus groups, and web-based tracking, multiple sources of data were collected and analyzed from 2006 to 2010. Evaluators summarized quantitative data by counts or means and qualitative results using systematic coding procedures to identify themes, ideas, and concepts.


All 25 community partnerships were engaged in programs and promotions of varying degrees throughout the initiative. Programs were categorized as community walking and biking programs, school programs, afterschool programs, and worksite programs, among others. Promotional strategies were categorized as social marketing campaigns, media, events, and communications. The most common programs included Safe Routes to School, walking clubs, and Bike/Walk to School Day. Media efforts were undertaken by all 25 partnerships, totaling 2659 TV, newspaper, and radio hits.


Programs and promotions can be resource-intensive and have limited population impact when offered in isolation; however, these strategies help connect people to their environments (e.g., increase awareness of facilities, provide social support for use of facilities) in order to improve physical activity behaviors.

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