Creating a Moment for Active Living via a Media Campaign

Since 2003, residents of Omaha, Neb. have been encouraged to increase their physical activity levels. This is as a result of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living by Design (ALbD) initiative that funded Activate Omaha (AO), a community-wide health initiative.

The core of the initiative was a media campaign—billboards, TV and radio ads, grassroots efforts, and workplace initiatives—to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity in an area where 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese. The 3-year campaign used findings from surveys completed in 2005–2008 to focus subsequent years’ campaigns and leverage additional funding from other foundations and corporations.

Activate Omaha assessed whether residents thought Omaha was a place to lead an active lifestyle; what opportunities and plans they had to be more active; and their awareness of the campaign.

Key Findings:

  • At the onset, 86 percent of Omahans said they wanted to be part of an active community.
  • After year 2 of the campaign, 40 percent of respondents felt there were more opportunities be active than two years previously.
  • After year 3, respondents thought Omaha was a “good” or “very good” place for active living; a 14 percent increase from baseline.
  • From 2005 to 2007, physical activity increased 20 percent.