A Practical, Cost-effective Method for Recruiting People Into Healthy Eating Behavior Programs
Published Date:Mar 15 2007
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2007; 4(2).
The population impact of programs designed to develop healthy eating behaviors is limited by the number of people who use them. Most public health providers and researchers rely on purchased mass media, which can be expensive, on public service announcements, or clinic-based recruitment, which can have limited reach. Few studies offer assistance for selecting high-outreach and low-cost strategies to promote healthy eating programs. The purpose of this study was 1) to determine whether classified newspaper advertising is an effective and efficient method of recruiting participants into a healthy eating program and 2) to determine whether segmenting messages by transtheoretical stage of change would help engage individuals at all levels of motivation to change their eating behavior.
For 5 days in 1997, three advertisements corresponding to different stages of change were placed in a Canadian newspaper with a daily circulation of 75,000.
There were 282 eligible people who responded to newspaper advertisements, and the cost was Can $1.11 (U.S. $0.72) per recruit. This cost compares favorably with the cost efficiency of mass media, direct mail, and other common promotional methods. Message type was correlated with respondent's stage of change, and this correlation suggested that attempts to send different messages to different audience segments were successful.
Classified advertisements appear to be a highly cost-efficient method for recruiting a diverse range of participants into healthy eating programs and research about healthy eating.
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