Mass Media and Technology to Encourage Activity

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Mass media and social media can help motivate people to get off the couch and get moving, through targeted campaigns that influence individual behavior and change social norms around physical activity. Smart phones, social gaming, and other technology may also help make activity more fun—and more likely to become an everyday habit.

Here is a brief summary of recommendations for how mass media and technology can be used to promote physical activity. It’s based on a review of expert guidance from the Institute of Medicine and others. For more detailed guidance on these recommendations and ideas for putting them into practice, explore the source list and the links to other resources.

Develop a federally funded, coordinated mass media and social marketing campaign with consistent messages and branding to promote physical activity (1)

Develop state and local media campaigns emphasizing the benefits of increasing physical activity (1,2)

  • Build on the national campaign messages
  • Create campaigns that are culturally relevant
  • Feature diverse role models and activity types

Encourage new media, smart phone, and other technology and entertainment companies to develop products that promote physical activity (1,3)

Mass Media and Technology to Encourage Activity-Source List

1. National Physical Activity Plan. National Physical Activity Plan for the United States. 2010. Accessed February 2, 2012.

2. IOM (Institute of Medicine) and National Research Council. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press; 2009.

3. White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation. Washington, D.C.: White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity; 2010.