Stand-Alone Mass Media Campaigns to Increase Physical Activity

A Community Guide Updated Review

Through a systematic review updating the Community Guide systematic review and the Community Preventive Services Task Force 2001 recommendations, this article assesses the effectiveness of stand-alone mass media campaigns to increase physical activity at the population level, specifically during 1998-2008.

The Community Guide provides respected information about effective community approaches to address many public health behaviors, and is led by the Community Preventive Services Task Force. A literature review was updated to include literature published from 1980 to 2008 that met the Task Force criteria. Sixteen articles were selected for inclusion in the review, including three studies from the original 2001 review, from a total of 267 articles.

Key Findings:

  • The Task Force found there was insufficient evidence to determine stand-alone mass media campaigns’ effectiveness for increasing physical activity based on the articles included in the review.
  • The review studies varied in their campaign intensity, duration, media dose, and population research.
  • An additional review of literature from 2009-2011 informed the findings from the 1998-2008 review.

The effectiveness of stand-alone mass media campaigns to increase physical activity at the population level is unclear, and further, stronger evidence is needed to better assess their role. The authors suggest that these campaigns may be better used as part of a broader multicomponent community-wide intervention.

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