Obesity Prevention: Social Media Campaign

Social Media Campaign Objective

Since children’s health is a great concern of their parents, the campaign will be designed in a way that will attract both parents and children’s attention. The rates of childhood obesity in the US are alarmingly high: the prevalence of childhood obesity has grown by over 10% over the past four decades (Cunningham, Kramer, & Narayan, 2014). The risk is particularly high for children from families with low socioeconomic status (Gibbs & Forste, 2014). The statistics indicate that in 2011-2012, as many as 16.9% of children and teenagers in the US were obese (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014). African American and Hispanic children suffer from obesity more than other ethnic groups (Ogden et al., 2014). Wrong dietary choices and low physical activity are considered as the major causes of childhood obesity (Sahoo et al., 2015; Xu & Xue, 2015). Therefore, the campaign will be focused on changing dietary habits and increasing the physical activity of the target population group.

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The purpose of the proposed social media campaign is to raise the awareness of the target population about healthy foods. However, the emphasis will be put not on suggestions given by some popular persons or on internet pages. The project aims at suggesting the information approved by a dietician specifically for the selected target group. Also, a professional fitness instructor will be engaged in the program. This group is comprised of children aged from 3 to 17 who suffer from obesity. Other aspects defining the target population are the low socioeconomic status and belonging to Hispanic or African American ethnicity group.

Social Marketing Interventions

A variety of programs aimed at reducing the risk of obesity has been suggested by healthcare practitioners and scholars. Among them, diet interventions are highly popular (Wang et al., 2015). It is also noted that healthy video games have the potential to alter children’s attitudes toward food consumption (Lu, Kharrazi, Gharghabi, & Thompson, 2013). Taking into consideration the data from previous studies, it seems relevant to combine these two aspects and create a diet-focused intervention based on social marketing tools. Therefore, the current campaign will comprise two population-focused social marketing interventions: (1) a video game application for children aged 3-12 and (2) a trivia game for the age group of 13-17.

Rationale

The reasons for choosing these interventions are associated with children’s interests and preferences. First of all, playing a game is much more interesting than listening to a lecture (even a video one). Secondly, by inviting kids to play games, it becomes easy to engage them in a serious project without putting emphasis on its gravity. Thus, the participants will learn about healthy eating habits through exciting games. For the younger group of children, a video game is offered since they enjoy playing at this age. For the older group of participants, a trivia game is suggested. It is both entertaining and informing. The ultimate rationale behind the interventions is engaging the target population in the healthy food consumption process. It is expected that children will influence their parents’ purchasing habits.

Social Media Platforms

To communicate with the target audience, social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter will be used. With the help of these websites, the leader of the campaign hopes to reach out to the older group of children and the parents of the younger group of children. Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular social websites (Oh & Syn, 2015). Social media platforms suggest ample opportunities for sharing information, inviting users to visit a page, and receiving feedback. The choice of Twitter and Facebook is justified by the possibility to engage a large number of users in the campaign. Even when someone does not belong to the target population group, they may share the data, which will help children suffering from obesity and their parents to learn about the project.

Benefits of Social Media Platforms

The advantages of using Facebook in supporting preventative healthcare include:

  • it has a large number of users;
  • it is easy to share the purpose of the project and explain its major objectives;
  • users can repost the information about the interventions;
  • users can invite their friends to visit the page of the campaign.

The benefits of using Twitter are the following:

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  • it has many users;
  • the messages are sort but informative;
  • even a person who is not registered can read a post and get interested in the campaign;
  • users can “retweet” messages, thus letting more people know about the project.

Benefit to Target Population

There are several advantages of the health message for the target population. First of all, they will be educated on what foods are healthy in the comfort of their own homes. The participants will not need to go anywhere, so they will save time on commuting. Another aspect to be mentioned in this respect is that the children will not be subject to teasing or stigmatization. Secondly, the children will be able to receive education while doing an enjoyable activity. Finally, they will be able to arrange chat groups to do fitness and diet challenges.

Best Practices for Social Media

The use of the following practices can enhance the outcomes of any social media campaign:

  1. Creating a plan: it is necessary to structure the work of the project and leave no areas uncovered;
  2. Connecting the parts: one should arrange the work of all aspects and make sure that they correlate with each other;
  3. Listening and learning: it is crucial to collect feedback from users and make the necessary changes to improve the work;
  4. Minding security issues: it is important to secure the information on the campaign’s webpage;
  5. Revising: every three-four months, it is necessary to review the campaign, evaluate its achievements and drawbacks, and make alterations.

Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

There are several major stakeholders involved in the campaign, each of them having different roles and responsibilities: the leader of the project (the community health nurse), children, parents, the dietician, the fitness instructor, and the IT specialist. The roles and responsibilities of the dietician and fitness instructor involve writing a plan that will help to decrease obesity rates in the target population group. Also, these specialists will create the trivia game for the older age group. The IT specialist will be accountable for designing a video game based on the plan written by healthcare specialists. Also, this professional will create Facebook and Twitter pages for the campaign promotion. Parents’ duty will be to engage their children in participating in the interventions. Children’s role will involve joining the campaign, playing games, and working on altering their diet and fitness habits. The leader of the campaign will be responsible for arranging the project and supervising all the activities.

Potential Partnerships

In order to promote the implementation of the campaign, it is necessary to form partnerships with organizations having similar goals. A potential public association might be established with the Health Department of Miami-Dade County. Private cooperation might be arranged with the main children’s hospital in Miami-Dade County, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (https://www.nicklauschildrens.org/). This organization could help the campaign by offering information about it to its customers. Also, the hospital has a page on Twitter (https://twitter.com/nicklaus4kids) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NicklausChildrensHospital/), which will make it possible to promote the campaign on social media.

Implementation Timeline

The timeline of the campaign is reflected in the table below.

Time Stage Responsible stakeholders
June The initial meeting to discuss the issues to be included in the games The leader, the dietician, the fitness instructor
July (weeks 1-2) Creating the plan of a healthy diet and physical activity habits for the target group The dietician, the fitness instructor
July (weeks 3-4) Creating the video game and the trivia game The dietician, the fitness instructor, and the IT specialist
August (week 1) Creating Facebook and Twitter pages The IT specialist
August (week 1) Promoting the campaign through the cooperation with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and the Health Department of Miami-Dade County The leader
August (weeks 2-3) Engaging users of social media in the campaign The leader, the IT specialist
August (week 4) Launching the video game and the trivia game for the first users who agreed to participate in the campaign The IT specialist, the leader, parents, children
September Launching the video game and the trivia game for other volunteers The IT specialist, the leader, parents, children
September-October Collecting feedback and analyzing outcomes The IT specialist, the leader, the dietician, the fitness instructor

How to Evaluate Effectiveness

The assessment of the campaign’s success will be performed by comparing children’s body mass index (BMI), heart rate, and physical activity before and after the intervention. Also, the awareness of parents and kids will be evaluated and analyzed at the beginning and the end of the project (GreenMills, Davidson, Gordon, Li, & Jurkowski, 2013). The campaign will be considered effective if the knowledge of key stakeholders increases and the BMI and other vital signs improve.

Measurable Tools

The following tools for evaluating the campaign’s effectiveness will be employed:

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  • a quality of life questionnaire before and after the intervention;
  • the adoption of behaviors recommended by the campaign;
  • the BMI and heart rate measurements before and after the project;
  • physical abilities and activity of the children before and after the campaign.

Cost of Implementation

The costs are approximate and will be adjusted when the campaign is launched. It is expected that stakeholders will be willing to perform some duties on a volunteer basis, which will allow saving some money. Also, if the program is successful, it is expected that some charity funds will help to promote it. The cost of implementing the campaign is reflected in the table below.

Types of expenses Cost
Equipment for creating the video game and the trivia game $1,500
Salary for the specialists involved in the project $6,000
Equipment and paperwork to arrange the collaboration with partners $1,000
Total cost: $8,500

Reflection on Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is one of the most successful ways of promoting healthier lifestyles for populations. In the current project, the support of such marketing is invaluable. With the help of Facebook and Twitter, the community health nurse will be able to share the information about the campaign and its major goals. What is more, social media marketing will promote communication with the participants and will allow sharing feedback.

Reflection on Future Nursing Practice

The suggested social media campaign will be of great help in the future nursing practice. The project will promote the development of managerial and other professional skills. Also, the campaign will assist in enhancing research skills. The comparison of the participants’ vital signs before and after the intervention will develop nursing skills. Overall, the campaign will have a highly positive impact on the future nursing practice.

References

Cunningham, S. A., Kramer, M. R., & Narayan, V. (2014). Incidence of childhood obesity in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(5), 403-411.

Gibbs, B. G., & Forste, R. (2014). Socioeconomic status, infant feeding practices and early childhood obesity. Pediatric Obesity, 9(2), 135-146.

GreenMills, L. L., Davidson, K. K., Gordon, K. E., Li, K., & Jurkowski, J. M. (2013). Evaluation of a childhood obesity awareness campaign targeting head start families: Designed by parents for parents. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24(Suppl. 2), 25-33.

Lu, A. S., Kharrazi, H., Gharghabi, F., & Thompson, D. (2013). A systematic review of health videogames on childhood obesity prevention and intervention. Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications, 2(3), 131-141.

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(8), 806-814.

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Oh, S., & Syn, S. Y. (2015). Motivations for sharing information and social support in social media: A comparative analysis of Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, YouTube, and Flickr. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(10), 2045-2060.

Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A. K., Sofi, N. Y., Kumar, R., & Bhadoria, A. S. (2015). Childhood obesity: Causes and consequences. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 4(2), 187-192.

Wang, Y., Cai, L., Wu, Y., Wilson, R. F., Weston, C., Fawole, O.,… Segal, J. (2015). What childhood obesity prevention programmes work? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 16(7), 547-565.

Xu, S., & Xue, Y. (2015). Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment (review). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 11(1), 15-20.

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