Physical activity programs and promotions can be resource intensive and have limited impact but can increase physical activity by connecting people to their environments, according to this evaluation of such activities by the Active Living by Design (ALbD) community partnerships.
The ALbD initiative funded 25 community partnerships across the U.S. from 2003-2008; these partnerships were charged with using five “community action” strategies —including physical activity programs and promotions—to change environments and policies to make it easier for people to lead active daily lives. Part of a three-year cross-site evaluation started in Year Three of ALbD funding, this paper examines the use of promotions and physical activity programs, including the challenges, successes, and lessons learned.
- All 25 community partnerships used physical activity programs and promotions, such as, community walking and biking programs, school and worksite programs and promotions, audience-centered communications, media coverage efforts, and other activities, (e.g., conferences, races, and fairs.)
- New programs to change behavior were expensive, difficult to sustain, and most effective when they were not short-term; thus, such programs were most successful when led by organizations with stable funding and volunteer support beyond ALbD.
- Participation was a hurdle. Short-term incentives worked but were hard to maintain; motivating incentives intrinsic to an activity, such as social rewards, should be incorporated into program planning.
- Other significant hurdles included crime and violence concerns (which the partnerships felt ill-equipped to deal with), the lack of local media in urban communities which hindered effective coverage, and the difficulties of working with schools.
Despite the challenges, activity programs and promotions did enhance the success of other ALbD strategies: “If you build it, let them know about it, and offer programming, then they will come back again and again.”
American Journal of Preventive Medicine Presents the Evaluation of RWJF's Active Living by Design Program
- 1. Lessons from a Mixed-Methods Approach to Evaluating Active Living by Design
- 2. Capturing Community Change
- 3. Identifying the Role of Community Partnerships in Creating Change to Support Active Living
- 4. Assessment for Active Living
- 5. Evaluation of Physical Projects and Policies from the Active Living by Design Partnerships
- 6. Programs and Promotions: Approaches by 25 Active Living by Design Partnerships
- 7. Active Living by Design: Sustainability Strategies
- 8. Concept Mapping: Priority Community Strategies to Create Changes to Support Active Living
- 9. Evaluation of Active Living by Design
- 10. Evaluation Results from an Active Living Intervention in Somerville, Massachusetts
- 11. Bike, Walk, and Wheel
- 12. A Walking School Bus Program
- 13. Creating a Moment for Active Living via a Media Campaign
- 14. Isanti County Active Living
- 15. Using a Bicycle-Pedestrian Count to Assess Active Living in Downtown Wilkes-Barre
- 16. Active Living by Design's Contributions to the Movement
- 17. Healthy People and the Design Sciences
- 18. Active Living by Design and Its Evaluation
- 19. A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of School-Based Active Living Programs