Journal Article

Impacts of a National Mass Media Campaign on Walking in Scotland

Erica Wimbush, Andrew MacGregor and Elizabeth Fraser

in Health Promotion International

Volume 13, issue 1, pages 45-53
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Impacts of a National Mass Media Campaign on Walking in Scotland

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The promotion of walking as a form of exercise holds considerable potential, both in terms of health benefits and its wide appeal to inactive groups. This paper presents the results of the evaluation of a national mass media walking campaign in Scotland which involved a 40 s television advertisement and a telephone helpline. The target population consisted of people aged 30–55 who are not regular exercisers. The campaign impact was assessed in terms of awareness of the campaign and pre- and post-campaign changes in knowledge and beliefs about walking as a good form of exercise, in motivations and intentions regarding walking/exercise and in walking/exercise behaviour. The evaluation involved two population surveys and baseline and follow-up surveys of the helpline callers. Awareness levels for the television advertisement peaked at 70% of the adult population during the first 4-week burst of advertising, falling to 54% during the non-broadcast period. The evaluation findings show that, at a population level, the campaign had a notable positive impact on knowledge about walking as a form of exercise but no impact on walking behaviour. Among the helpline callers the campaign had a substantial impact at the level of intentions and behaviour: 48% of the callers followed up at 1 year claimed to be more physically active and there was an overall shift from the ‘contemplation’ stage of change at baseline towards the ‘action’ stage at the 10-week and 1- year follow-ups. The proportion of adults aware of the telephone helpline rose from 5% at the start of the campaign to 16% 4 months later, but only 5% of these respondents used the service. This level of use represents 0.1% coverage at the start of the campaign rising to 1% 4 months later.

Keywords: evaluation; mass media; physical activity; walking

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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