The campaign’s primary messages are:
- Eat Smart: Eat a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables and whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meat.
- Move More: Be physically active at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Be Tobacco Free: Avoid using tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Get Recommended Health Screenings: Talk to a health care provider about tests for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, colorectal cancer as well as breast and cervical cancer for women.
There are a plethora of messages on health and wellness that Missourians hear on a regular basis. These messages compete with a wide range of effective, clever, glamorous messages sponsored by the tobacco, food, and other industries that contribute to confusion and lead to behaviors that compromise health.
The magnitude of health problems caused by chronic diseases is huge and could potentially contribute to a health care crisis in the future if improvements are not made in how well chronic diseases are managed. Education is one component of the public health mission to address these health problems so Missourians are aware of the risks, preventive practices and health care behaviors that prevent and control chronic diseases. In order to be effective a more strategic consumer education approach has been launched that unifies multiply program efforts and coordinates message delivery among a broad number of programs and agencies in a compelling fashion.
A broad base of partners implement a consumer education effort to improve the prevention and control of chronic diseases among adults 45 years and older. This campaign embraces a common theme, unifies multiple program efforts and coordinates message delivery among a number of Missouri programs, agencies and organizations with common missions.
Messages focus on regular screening, signs and symptoms, early detection, and/or self-management. The campaign builds on the message platform of core health behaviors that help prevent and control chronic diseases such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a normal weight, and being a savvy health care consumer. Adults, 45 years and older, at risk for or with chronic diseases are the target population.
A name for both the campaign and the collaboration was selected May 2007. The title selected for the collaborative body was the Live Well Message Alliance. There is value for selecting a separate name for the Alliance so their steering of efforts could be long living and support additional campaigns. It was recommended that “State” or “Missouri” be excluded from the title since that could be a limiting factor for adoption of the campaign by national employers with offices in Missouri.
Live Well Message Alliance Selects Campaign Theme
Live Like Your Life Depends On It is the current campaign theme based on the evidence, experience from other campaign initiatives, and results from formative research.
Project Launch and Key Messages
Live Like Your Life Depends On It began August 1, 2007 with the availability of the materials. The priority messages for the campaign are:
Be Tobacco Free
Get Recommended Health Screenings
Other important campaign messages include:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you have a chronic disease you can make a difference
The campaign brochure provides recommendations for actions for each of these key messages.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommends that these core messages not be modified as they provide the unifying force for the campaign and will serve as common prompts for action. Imagine how reinforcing it is for those in our target audience to see or hear these same messages in their physician’s office, church bulletin, local newspaper, senior center and on the radio. Those implementing the campaign should use their own experiences and expertise to guide and integrate the use of these messages, materials and other items to effectively reach those within the purview of their agency or organization. The listing of available materials on the resource tab highlights specific ideas for use of materials. In addition sample newsletter articles are available for those that have this as a communication means with their membership. The Department of Health and Senior Services staff can provide consultation if requested.
Key Research Take-Away Points Inform Campaign Design
Findings from the literature review, telephone survey and focus groups that comprised the formative research were analyzed and key take-away points gleaned have informed the campaign design. These findings can be applied to other consumer education initiatives that target adults 45 years of age and older.
- Support idea that people can improve their health and prevent or lessen effects of chronic diseases through diet and exercise.
- Support idea that people can live long and satisfying lives even after they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, and a person/s attitude about the diagnosis can impact his/her ability to fight the disease.
- Overcome potential for complacency about improving bad behaviors and habits.
- Show people exhibiting good habits and seeing a benefit, rather than showing people with bad habits showing a consequence.
- Show real and approachable people who have characteristics of the target audiences.
- Uses creative execution that shows people, not just objects in communicating the message.
- Support the idea that a higher quality of life is attainable through changes in behavior, and shows meaningful examples of quality of life (family and friends, etc.).
- Show specific actions that anyone can take to improve his/her health in order to support the overarching message.
Campaign Development and Use
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services uses contracted services and expertise to guide the planning efforts, identify effective health communication methodologies, tailor the message to the target audience, select the most appropriate communication channels to achieve positive health outcomes and develop new campaign materials.
Through involvement of consumers and state and local organizations in the development and implementation, the campaign’s appeal and reach through existing networks and communication channels, is enhanced and enabled to better compete in today’s media market.
This coordinated approach has lead to synergistic and compounding results, greater potential for recognition of messages, and common prompts for action to improve behaviors to lower risks for chronic diseases and its complications. The campaign also augments state and community efforts to promote locally available health care and lifestyle intervention services for those at risk for chronic diseases or who have a chronic disease. The department in concert with partners and contractors is conducting an evaluation to examine the outcomes.
The campaign meets the following criteria:
Based on current evidence for success
Relevant to the target audience
Consistent and unifying, blame-free
Simple and understandable
Clearly describe action desired and link with overarching theme.
For the purpose of this campaign, a chronic disease is defined as a prolonged course of illness for which a complete cure is rarely achieved, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or cancer. Risk factors that apply across or to multiple chronic diseases include poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, being overweight, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, not receiving screenings for chronic diseases, and lack of health insurance. Positive health behaviors that are effective in the prevention and management of chronic disease include not smoking, and habits of healthy eating and regular physical activity. Positive health care behaviors include getting recommended health screenings to detect disease earlier, regular monitoring (of, e.g., blood pressure) and management (e.g., medication compliance) by physician and self. In addition to individual-level barriers, the campaign must also consider structural barriers to desired health and health care behaviors experience by members of the low-income target market, such as lack of health insurance and higher cost and lesser availability of healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.