Fitness Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for increasing fitness levels. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources

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Please refer to the Active Living Topic Resources page, which shares many of the same entries. 


Virtually Everyone Benefits From More Physical Activity
Systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses (based largely on epidemiological studies consisting of large cohorts) have demonstrated a dose-response relationship between physical activity and premature mortality and the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic medical conditions. The relationships between physical activity and health outcomes are generally curvilinear such that marked health benefits are observed with relatively minor volumes of physical activity. More
 

Most Recent Fitness Case Studies

Norway’s Promotion of Electric Vehicles  Environment

Several policies / incentives, in place over an extended period, have made Norwegians more likely to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) than people in any other country. These incentives have included: exemption from vehicle registration and high purchase taxes, reduced road tolls, free parking, and access to some bus lanes. A similar long-term approach could be adapted for other big-ticket purchasing behaviors where the impact justifies the expense – for example energy-efficient home / building retrofits and appliances. Norway's electric cars are close to zero-emission as 98% of its electricity came from hydropower.

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Climate Matters Program for TV Weathercasters  Environment

Climate Matters trains and supports American TV weathercasters to report on the local impacts of climate change while reflecting current scientific knowledge and concerns. The program provides participating newscasters with weekly story packages with local data and broadcast-quality graphics that visualize the data. Because of an overt conflict in the meteorology community about opposing views of climate change, the program engaged a conflict mediator who worked with small groups of opinion-leading weathercasters to surface and work through the entrenched conflicts. As climate reporting became increasingly normative, the program ensured that everyone in the weathercasting community knew the behaviors were gaining in popularity. As of 31 October 2020, there were 968 participating weathercasters in 483 local TV stations, in 92% of all US media markets and 99 of the top 100 media markets. Viewers exposed to their climate education became more likely to understand that climate change is already a 'here, now, us' problem.

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Canada-Wide Ban on Menthol Cigarettes  Health

Bans on menthol cigarettes across Canada from 2015 to 2017 led to a significant increase in the numbers of smokers who attempted to quit and who quit successfully, while reducing relapse rates among former smokers. Canada was the one of the first countries to implement a ban on menthol cigarettes, and the first country where such a ban was evaluated.

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Landmark Case Study Heat Loss Images, Norm Appeals Raise Impacts in Medicine Hat  Environment

A Randomized Controlled Trial tested the impacts of providing consumers, on their monthly utility bills, with high-resolution infrared images of their houses, information about their heat loss relative to their neighbors, and estimated savings from improving their home’s insulation and air tightness. This treatment was twice as effective as a traditional Home Energy Report (HER) treatment. This demonstrates the power of visual cues that help make the intangible more vivid, concrete, and actionable. This case study also illustrates how norm appeals can backfire when descriptive norms are provided to those who are already doing “better” than most, without also providing an affirming injunctive norm. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study Seattle’s Just One Trip Phase II  EnvironmentHealth

Just One Trip Phase II illustrates the use of Propensity Modelling / Predictive Analysis, Street Ambassadors, Quality Online User Experience (UX), and trip planning to reduce the proportion of single-occupant car trips in Seattle WA, USA. It engaged over 21,000 people and on average participants reduced four drive-alone trips per week per person. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study City of Austin’s Leave Time Travel Incentive  EnvironmentHealth

The City of Austin reduced employee commute travel by one million vehicle miles within six months of making its Leave Time Reward (LTR) a permanent incentive. During this period, the percentage of drive-alone trips fell from 53% to 41%. Attribution of these impacts to the City’s time off incentive policy is strengthened because that policy was introduced in the pilot study, then withdrawn after the pilot, then later reintroduced for the permanent program (Reversal Design.) Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Way to Go Durham  Environment

This case study covers the formative research and pilot testing of the City of Durham’s Way to Go program with City staff and local university students. It illustrates the value of A/B testing and Randomized Control Trials for evaluating alternative program tactics. It exemplifies the effective use of personalized commute plans distributed en-masse and shows that they can have a substantial impact on travel behavior, even with no added incentives.

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London Hydro’s Price Plan Pilot Cuts Peak Use  Environment

London Hydro ran a Randomized Control Trial to test the impacts of real time information (RT), and critical peak pricing (CPP) on peak time residential energy use. CPP participants delivered summer On-Peak and Mid-Peak energy savings that were statistically significant at the 90% confidence level. Adding RT to CPP did not make much difference. Both groups reduced their daily On-Peak consumption by approximately 5% on average, and their Mid-Peak consumption by approximately 3% on average.

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Energy Cat Game  Environment

The Energy Cat computer game was piloted with social housing residents in Plymouth, United Kingdom, to motivate and help them learn about affordable, energy-saving steps they could take in their homes. The game provided an average electricity saving of 3.46% and an average gas saving of 7.48%.

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Landmark Case Study California’s Energy Conservation Competition  Environment

Participants in California’s Energy Conservation Competition work to change energy conservation behaviors in their schools relating to lighting, plug-loads, and mechanical systems. They also develop campaigns to encourage fellow students to communicate with teachers, peers, and administrators about energy conservation practices. This comprehensive program cuts school energy bills by 5% to 15%, and integrates climate education and energy efficiency, with linkages to hands-on job training and career development. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Day Zero: Cape Town Uses Fear Appeal to Avoid Running Out of Water  Environment


Fear appeals must be carefully considered as they can too-easily backfire and discourage people from taking in and acting on our messages. And why spread fear unnecessarily? This case study illustrates an appropriate and effective use of a fear appeal to reduce water consumption in Cape Town South Africa. It tracks 30 years, from the time the City predicted severe water shortages to the point where the taps nearly ran dry and this city of four million people reduced water use enough to avoid disaster. 

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It’s About Respect - Reducing Sexual Violence in Washington  HealthSafety

It’s about Respect is a program to prevent sexual violence among middle school students. This case study reports on the program’s initial pilot at one school, compared with a control school.

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Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

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BART Perks 2  Environment

BART Perks Phase II used a Smartphone-based platform to incentivize shifts in public transit trips that reduced peak demand. The approach proved cost-effective relative to the average fare associated with each freed-up seat. At full-scale, the approach was predicted to be cost-effective relative to purchasing and maintaining more transit cars. This six-month randomized control study took place in San Francisco during the first half of 2019.

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Port of San Diego  Environment

The Port of San Diego’s (Port’s) Green Business Network (Network) is an integrated energy efficiency and sustainability program that educates tenant businesses on sustainable business practices and identifies resources to implement building and operational improvements. The Green Business Network provides a forum for businesses across the Port’s five member cities to network on sustainability best practices. Between 2010 and 2017, participating businesses reduced energy use by 10.8 million kWh and 300,000 therms.

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Most Recent Fitness Resources

AA007  Health

Storewide confectionery sales declined, and fruit and vegetable sales increased, when nonfood items and water were placed at checkouts and aisle ends opposite, and an expanded fruit and vegetable section was repositioned near the store entrance.

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Emissions Disclosure Requirements Lower CO2 Output  Environment

When large power plants were required to disclose their carbon dioxide output, emissions fell by more than 7%, while at some small plants, exempt from disclosure, emissions rose at least 25%. This illustrates the Hawthorne Effect and the power of Norm Appeals.

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U.B.C. Campus Sustainability Engagement and Social Marketing Strategy - Review of Related Research and Similar Programs  Environment

This 2013 literature review summarizes behavioral barriers, benefits and interventions related to campus / institutional energy, water and waste-related behaviors.

 

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STEP IT UP! The (U.S.) Surgeon General's call to action to promote walking and walkable communities  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health. But only half of adults and about a quarter of high school students get the amount of physical activity recommended in national guidelines. Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities (2015) aims to get Americans walking and wheelchair rolling for the physical activity needed to help prevent and reduce their risk of chronic diseases and premature death. And it supports positive mental health and healthy aging as well.

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Road Signs Plus Mailings Reduce Lawn Watering: The rain-watered lawn  Environment

 This pilot with control group found that households watered more conservatively than with water restrictions alone if they were also informed of recent rainfall totals.

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A Review of Evaluations of Social Marketing Campaigns in Occupational Injury, Disease or Disability Prevention  Safety

This 2017 review examined published evaluation and research studies on occupational health and safety social marketing campaigns. One key finding is that "campaigns based exclusively on mass media communications do not appear to be as effective in reducing the incidence of work-related injury, disease or disability as campaigns that integrate public communications strategies with companion programs involving consultation services, inspection and enforcement, or education and training."

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A Review of Current Practices to Increase Chlamydia Screening in the Community--a consumer-centered social marketing perspective  Health

Of 18 interventions identified in 2015, quality of evidence was low. Proportional screening rates varied, ranging from: 30.9 to 62.5% in educational settings (n = 4), 4.8 to 63% in media settings (n = 6) and from 5.7 to 44.5% in other settings (n = 7). Assessment against benchmark criteria found that interventions incorporating social marketing principles were more likely to achieve positive results, yet few did this comprehensively.

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Making Heat Visible: Promoting energy conservation behaviors through thermal imaging  Environment

Two British studies indicate the value of thermal imaging for making heat loss visible and changing behaviors. Published in 2015.

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Longer-Lasting Actions and Responses to Extreme Events Can Have Great Impact  Environment

This 2018 paper links climate science and behavioural science, estimates the potential impact of behavioural programs, and predicts the three types of behavioural programs with the largest impact.

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Limiting Global Warming to 1.5 to 2.0°C: A unique and necessary role for health professionals  EnvironmentHealth

This short paper was written to engage health professionals in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Its central message is that climate solutions are health solutions, and health solutions are economic solutions. Health professionals are among the people best positioned to make sure that the public and policy makers understand this.

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HIV Self-Testing is Associated with Increased Uptake and Frequency of Testing in RCTs  Health

HIV Self-Testing is associated with increased uptake and frequency of testing in RCTs. Such increases, particularly among those at risk who may not otherwise test, will likely identify more HIV-positive individuals as compared to standard testing services alone.

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A History of Household Recycling in Canada and the USA  Environment

History of household blue box recycling in Canada, UK, USA, and elsewhere. 

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Getting Your Feet Wet  Environment

A downloadable social marketing guide for watershed programs (2006)

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Food Waste: From measurement to management  Environment

This 2019 document provides a much-needed framework for managing food waste, including food surplus, food loss and food waste.It also provides an overview of the literature on drivers of in-home food waste and translate them into guidelines for effective intervention development.

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Factors Influencing Health Behaviours in response to the Air Quality Health Index  EnvironmentHealth

This research looked at the predictors, motivators and barriers at the individual level, of following and acting on advice provided through the Air Quality Health Index program.

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