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Health Promot J Austr. 2013 Aug;24(2):104-10. doi: 10.1071/HE13042.

Effective recruitment and retention strategies in community health programs.

Author information

1
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia.

Abstract

ISSUE ADDRESSED:

The aim of this project was to identify effective recruitment and retention strategies used by health-promotion organisations that focus on increasing physical activity and improving nutrition within the local community.

METHODS:

Semistructured telephone or face-to-face interviews with 25 key informants from stakeholder organisations were conducted. Key informants discussed strategies used by their organisation to effectively recruit and retain participants into community-based healthy eating and/or physical activity programs. Transcribed data were analysed with NVivo software.

RESULTS:

Effective recruitment strategies included word of mouth, links with organisations, dissemination of printed materials, media, referrals, cross-promotion of programs and face-to-face methods. Effective retention strategies included encouraging a sense of community ownership, social opportunities, recruiting a suitable leader and offering flexibility and support. Fees and support for recruiting and retaining participants was also identified.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides novel insights to a greatly under researched topic in the field of health promotion. There are two key take-home messages from the present study that are applicable to health practitioners as well as developers and deliverers of community health-promotion programs: (1) it is imperative that all community health organisations report on the effectiveness of their recruitment and retention, both successes and failures; and (2) there is a clear need to tailor the recruitment and retention approach to the target population and the setting the program is occurring in. SO WHAT? These findings provide important insights for the development of future community-based healthy eating and physical activity programs.

PMID:
24168736
DOI:
10.1071/HE13042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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