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Community-wide physical activity campaigns

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise
Decision Makers: Educators Employers & Businesses Local Government Healthcare Professionals & Advocates Nonprofit Leaders Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Community-wide physical activity campaigns involve many community sectors, include highly visible, broad-based, multi-component strategies (e.g., social support, risk factor screening or health education) and may address cardiovascular disease risk factors (CG-Physical activity).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased physical activity
Improved physical fitness
Improved weight status

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that community-wide physical activity campaigns increase physical activity and physical fitness among children and adults (CG-Physical activity, Economos 2007). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects and determine the characteristics of successful community-wide campaigns (Cochrane-Baker 2011).

Community-wide physical activity campaigns have been shown to increase participant knowledge about exercise and physical activity as well as their intention to be physically active. Such campaigns can also reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CG-Physical activity). A Massachusetts-based study of Shape up Somerville demonstrated that a community-wide campaign can prevent weight gain for children at high risk for obesity (Economos 2007). Collaborative partnerships, a key part of community-wide campaigns, have been shown to facilitate community-wide behavior change and environmental changes (Roussos 2000).

Community-wide interventions appear to be cost effective approaches to increasing physical activity (Lehnert 2012, Roux 2008). State health departments may be particularly well-positioned to coordinate or support such campaigns (Cousins 2011).


United States

Many states have community-based efforts to promote physical activity and behavior change. Examples include ESMM NC, CHAMPS, Shape up Somerville, and Wheeling Walks.

Implementation Resources

CDC-Increasing physical activity 2011 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Strategies to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases: The CDC guide to strategies to increase physical activity in the community. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2011. Accessed on April 4, 2018
ESMM NC-ES Workbook - Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina (ESMM NC). Eat smart workbook. Accessed on January 20, 2016
ESMM NC-MM Workbook - Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina (ESMM NC). Move more workbook. Accessed on December 15, 2015
MA HHS-Mass in motion - Massachusetts Health and Human Services (MA HHS). Mass in motion. Accessed on January 28, 2016
Reger-Nash 2011* - Reger-Nash B, Bauman A, Smith BJ, et al. Organizing an effective community-wide physical activity campaign: A step-by-step guide. Health & Fitness Journal. 2011;15(5):21–7. Accessed on May 20, 2016

Citations - Description

CG-Physical activity - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Physical activity. Accessed on April 4, 2018

Citations - Evidence

CG-Physical activity - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Physical activity. Accessed on April 4, 2018
Cochrane-Baker 2011* - Baker P, Francis D, Soares J, Weightman A, Foster C. Community wide interventions for increasing physical activity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;(4):CD008366. Accessed on December 14, 2015
Cousins 2011 - Cousins JM, Langer SM, Rhew LK, Thomas C. The role of state health departments in supporting community-based obesity prevention. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2011;8(4):A87. Accessed on December 8, 2015
Economos 2007* - Economos CD, Hyatt RR, Goldberg JP, et al. A community intervention reduces BMI z-score in children: Shape up Somerville first year results. Obesity. 2007;15(5):1325–36. Accessed on December 22, 2015
Lehnert 2012* - Lehnert T, Sonntag D, Konnopka A, Riedel-Heller S, König H-H. The long-term cost-effectiveness of obesity prevention interventions: Systematic literature review. Obesity Reviews. 2012;13(6):537-53. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Roussos 2000* - Roussos ST, Fawcett SB. A review of collaborative partnerships as a strategy for improving community health. Annual Review of Public Health. 2000;21:369–402. Accessed on November 9, 2015
Roux 2008* - Roux L, Pratt M, Tengs TO, et al. Cost effectiveness of community-based physical activity interventions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2008;35(6):578-88. Accessed on February 25, 2018

Citations - Implementation

CHAMPS - Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS). Accessed on April 5, 2018
ESMM NC - Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina (ESMM NC). Accessed on March 1, 2018
Shape up Somerville - City of Somerville. Shape up Somerville. Accessed on May 24, 2016
Wheeling Walks - Wheeling Walks. Isn't time you started walking? Accessed on May 24, 2016

Page Last Updated

January 9, 2014

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