Examples SPN

Application of Social Marketing

Special Populations Networks Project

Study Description: Four-site project designed to improve the dissemination of proven, evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity among racial and ethnic communities.


Study Design

  • Focus Groups and Key Informant Interviews

Study Framework

  • A social marketing approach with two paths.
    • Path 1: studying what will appeal to each of the study’s target sub-groups.
    • Path 2: working with gatekeepers (community leaders) to learn about the cultures and beliefs of each sub-group.

Study Participants

  • Study Participants (n=292)
    • Native Hawaiian college students, aged 18-25 (women, n=20; men, n=12); Gatekeepers (n=10)
    • Hmong parents, aged 25-80 and children aged 11-14 (women, n=39; men, n=5; girls, n=22; boys, n=18); Gatekeepers (n=5)
    • Low-income Latina women, aged 40-65 (n=75); Gatekeepers (n=15)
    • Low-income African Americans aged 19-79 (women, n=25; men, n=28); Gatekeepers (n=18)

Strategies Discussed

  • Increase physical activity throughout the community by mounting communication campaigns.
  • Change behavior related to physical activity.
  • Improve social support for physical activity.
  • Increase access to physical activity locations.
  • Place point-of-decision prompts at strategic locations.

Study Results

  • Native Hawaiians
    • Going about a "normal routine" is active enough; planning physical activities is not part of the culture.
    • Culturally appropriate physical activities are appealing
    • Emphasis on family and group activities
    • Barriers: time constraints and transportation issues
  • Hmong
    • Their work in Thailand and Laos required physical labor.
    • Barriers: sports are for boys, not girls; problems with language and literacy; do not know how to fit physical activity into their lives in America; un-safe neighborhoods are not conducive to walking.
  • Latina women
    • Prefer group activities.
    • Consider family and social support to be important.
    • Would like to see "women only" gyms.
    • Barriers: lack of motivation and appeal; lack of childcare; cost; safety concerns.
  • African Americans
    • Prefer to exercise with a partner or a free personal trainer.
    • Most likely to participate if activities involve the entire family.
    • Messages have to be framed positively.
    • Barriers: SES issues (lack of time, cost, transportation, childcare).
  • Gatekeepers
    • Native languages, tailored messaging, role models, and message dissemination through community organizations could help.
    • Changing the views and behaviors of key social forces (family, community organizations, church) will influence individual behavior change.