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

Landmark Case Study Southern Nevada Water Authority's Water Smart Landscapes Program  Environment

As climate change leads to more drought situations, it will be important to understand how to best promote water conservation. Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Smart Landscapes (WSL) program pays homeowners to replace their non-native, ornamental lawns with plants and landscapes that use less water because they are better adapted to their dry climate. It is one of the longest running “cash for grass” policies. Designated a Landmark case study by our climate change peer review panel in 2022.

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Landmark Case Study Reduce Your Juice  Environment

This innovative social marketing approach changed the energy use behaviours of low-income renters in Brisbane, Australia, through meaningful gamification. The gamified experience promoted desired behaviours and reduced undesired ones, all carefully chosen using McKenzie-Mohr's cbsm guidelines for selecting behaviors. The Reduce Your Juice program was designed to be fun, easy and impactful. On the exterior, it appears as a simple, fun and easy experience of games and gamified activities, communications, community, and rewards. However, below the surface lies a sophisticated intervention developed through the application of formative research and theory and implemented by a team of multi-disciplinary experts from the energy, social marketing, behaviour change, digital insights & technology, research, and social sectors. Designated a Landmark case study by our Building Energy peer review panel in 2022.

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Landmark Case Study Chicago’s Building Energy Rating System  Environment

Chicago was the first U.S. city to require building owners to prominently post a building’s energy performance rating, and to share that that rating with potential buyers and/or renters. While the rating system was being introduced, ComEd and Peoples Gas ran extensive complementary incentive and rebate programs that enabled building owners and managers to make energy improvements at little to no cost. Designated a Landmark case study in 2022 by our climate change peer review panel.

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Landmark Case Study How Copenhagen Became a Cycling City  EnvironmentHealthSafety

What makes a great cycling city? How did the medium-sized City of Copenhagen get its citizens to cycle to work / school 49% of the time? While topography and climate are significant influencers, safety, supportive infrastructure, and promotion also played key roles. Copenhagen increased cycling by making it safer, easier, and more convenient. This case illustrates the power of piloting alternative enhancements on an ongoing basis to further reduce barriers and increase benefits, based on regular surveys, traffic data and safety data. It also features a transparent planning process - the Bicycle Account – a research, evaluation, promotion, and citizen engagement tool that was used thirteen times from 1996 to 2018. Designated a Landmark case study by our Transportation peer selection panel in 2022.

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Landmark Case Study Paris Reduces Car Use, Boosts Walking and Cycling  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Paris is an inspiration for large cities around the world, having reduced car traffic in its core (Ile de France) from a mode share of 12.8% in 2010 to 6% in 2020. How did Paris get to be one of the cities in the world with the lowest mode share for single occupant vehicles? The city is comparatively dense and has one of the top subways in the world. But what is most striking about its transformation is the increase in cycling and walking during this period – they increased from 55.4% in 2010 to 68% in 2020. Changing the transportation habits of so many people has involved the introduction of numerous programs offered by three levels of government. These changes have explicitly prioritized bicycles over cars on the island and reduced onstreet car parking to make room for bike lanes. They have also taxed and restricted more polluting vehicles, and gradually phased them out, while providing a conversion bonus for the purchase or lease of electric-assisted bicycles and cargo bikes. In addition, car ads had to include messages promoting greener methods of transportation, and incentives were provided for bike repairs and tune-ups. Paris’ mayor Hidalgo championed plans for a ‘15-minute city’, where everyone could meet most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from home. Designated a Landmark case study by our sustainable transportation peer review and selection panel in 2022.

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Landmark Case Study 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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Too Good to Go  Environment

About 75% of food waste goes to landfill, where it becomes one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions at 10% of total emissions. Too Good to Go turns food waste into a win-win situation for everyone, by creating jobs, generating revenue, reducing food waste, and diminishing environmental impacts. At its most basic, the app is a marketplace for surplus food. It enables you to see what extra food is likely to be available that day from nearby bakeries, stores, and restaurants - fresh food that would otherwise be thrown out at the end of the day because it would no longer be considered fresh and salable. Using the app, you can buy a ‘magic bag’ meal for roughly one third of what you would normally pay, then pick it up at the vendor’s closing time. As of June 2022, a total of 141 million bags had been sold, eliminating 775 million lb. (about 387,500 US tons) of CO2 emissions. In the first six months of 2022 alone, 88.5 million bags were sold, eliminating the equivalent of 973.5 million pounds (about 486,800 US tons) of CO2 emissions per year. 

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Carpooling and Vanpooling in San Mateo County, California  Environment

This program used advertising (online, video, and display), challenges, and prize-based campaigns to attract and retain its target audience. It also made its standard Guaranteed Ride Home system easier to use. This case study illustrates the timing of incentives to promote habit formation. It also exemplifies how benefits can be increased by integrating some of the participant-facing aspects of multiple, independent programs in neighboring regions.Over about six months from the Fall of 2018 to Spring 2019, Commute.org's Carpool 2.0 program led to a quadrupling of carpools logged in San Mateo County through its Star commuter platform each month, from 6,400 in to nearly 30,000. Between October 2018 and December 2019, the program rewarded 1,961 carpoolers, making 218,453 one-way trips, travelling 4,708,310 miles, and saving $1,325,860. About 40% of program participants drove alone before the program, and 33% reported costs savings as their top motivation to carpool. There was an associated reduction of 955 tons of CO2 emissions (about 819 tons per year.)

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Smart Trips Austin  Environment

Smart Trips Austin encourages residents of Austin Texas, USA to take multi-modal transportation options (walk, bike, ride transit, and share rides) more often, rather than drive alone. The program focuses on personal interactions — educating individuals on their options and overcoming barriers to multi-modal travel. Smart Trips reinforces this new information using community-based programs such as learn-to-ride classes, transit instruction, and group walking activities. Initially, the program targeted residential neighbourhoods of Austin Texas; each year a different area was targeted. In 2020 the program expanded to city-wide and began to segment using a Stages of Change approach. In 2021, it started targeting residents who had recently moved to or around Austin. Smart Trips Austin averaged a participation rate of 5-10% of households contacted, a 5-10% reduction in drive-alone trips among participants (about 41,000 vehicle trips per year), and a corresponding 5-10% increase in active and shared trips.

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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 Solarize Boosts Installations and Transforms Solar Markets Across America  Environment

Solarize is a group purchase program designed to simplify and reduce the cost of investing in solar energy. The campaign organizes a volunteer committee of residents to competitively select a solar installer who agrees to set pricing. At a series of free educational workshops participants can learn about the technology, incentives, and financing options. Interested, participants can then sign up for a free site assessment and are guaranteed the Solarize price, if they sign a contract within the campaign timeline. Customers can save as much as 25% of the total cost of installation. This approach enables grassroot and other solar advocates to build motivation and engagement over time, reduce key barriers to action, convert “interest” into “action”, and permanently transform the market for solar installations in their communities. Resulting installations generated 62,000,000 kWh of clean energy supply each year. Designated a Landmark case study by our Building Energy peer review panel in 2021.

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Landmark Case Study Virgin Atlantic’s Airline Captains Improve Fuel Efficiency  Environment

Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) conducted an eight-month pilot in 2014 to test the potential roles and impacts of monitoring, performance information, personal targets, and prosocial incentives on the fuel-use behavior of their captains. All 335 of VAA’s captains were part of the pilot, and they were randomly assigned to four separate treatment groups. Since the pilot, the approach has become business as usual at VAA, and the technology was commercialized through Signol and updated to a web-app and email rather than post. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

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Landmark Case Study 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. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

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Landmark Case Study Day Zero: Cape Town Includes 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. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

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Landmark Case Study WaterSense Adds Up to Big Water and Energy Savings  Environment

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seeks to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by offering Americans a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, homes, and services. WaterSense labeled products, which are independently certified to use at least 20% less water and perform as well or better than standard models, have been on the market since 2007. As of 2021 there are more than 30,000 labeled models, including products used in residential and commercial bathrooms, and outdoor irrigation. EPA’s WaterSense program has also certified over 3,000 homes with WaterSense labeled fixtures and water-efficient features. By 2020 it had saved 5.3 trillion gallons of water and 603 billion kWh of electricity. Designated a Landmark case study by our Building Energy peer review panel in 2021.

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Most Recent Fitness Resources

Public Safety Canada  Safety

Includes a range of prevention reports on bullying and violence, crime prevention

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Gun Policy Analysis  Safety

Rand Corporation reviewed thousands of studies to identify all available evidence for the effects of 13 gun policies in the USA on eight outcomes. Updated regularly.

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Combination of Walkability and Greenery Boosts Activity Levels  EnvironmentHealth

People are most physically active when their environments are both highly walkable and very green, according to a study by Marquet et al (2022), published in Environment International. 

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Getting Practical: Integrating Social Norms into Social and Behavior Change Programs  Health

Getting Practical uses examples from family planning and reproductive health to illustrate how to integrate social norms into your program.

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Strategies for Engaging Parents in Active School Travel  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Parents and caregivers play a key role in determining if a child will walk or wheel to school. This report summarizes barriers and strategies for better engaging parents and caregivers, related to active school travel.

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Calling Climate Change a 'Crisis' May Not Do What You Think  Environment

Focusing on and using terms like "climate emergency" and "climate crisis" can backfire if they increase fear, decrease efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduce news credibility.

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The Emergence of Employees' Change Readiness for Energy-Conservation Behavior During Guided Group Discussions  Environment

This study focuses on methods for increasing employees' readiness to change their behaviors in favor of energy conservation, specifically examining the use of guided group discussions (GGDs). It finds that solution-focused communication elicits change readiness in employees, whereas problem-focused communication prompts resistance to change. It further shows that employees can motivate their co-workers to express 'green' intentions: when employees verbalize statements in favor of energy saving, this increases other employees' change readiness, while verbalized statements against energy saving have the opposite effect.

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Who Doesn't Mind Waiting? Examining the relationships between waiting attitudes and person- and travel-related attributes  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Longer commute times and distances are correlated with negative attitudes toward waiting, while commuters with pro-transit, pro-density, and pro-active transportation attitudes tend to have positive attitudes toward waiting. Additionally, those with preferences for multitasking in general or at their jobs can tolerate waiting better. (California data)

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Reducing Food Waste by Promoting Ugly Fruit  Environment

Food waste and associated greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by helping consumers embrace "ugly fruit", which is typically equivalent nutritionally to regular fruit. Read on for guidance on how to do this.

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Online Menu Placement Affects Healthy Choices  Health

When healthier menu options were placed first on an online menu, they were chosen more often. However, the order of pacement had no effect with physical (rather than online) menus.

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Shifting Dietary Choices Towards Vegetarian Food  EnvironmentHealth

Shifting dietary choices towards vegetarian food is an urgent challenge given the environmental impact of livestock production and imminent need to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An online randomized control trial found that meat eaters were significantly more likely to choose a vegetarian meal when presented with a menu with 75% vegetarian items, but not when half (50%) were vegetarian. It is thought that availability may have increased vegetarian food choice by implicitly suggesting behavioral norms or by providing consumers with a wider range of desirable options.

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Behaviourally Effective Communications for Invasive Animals Management: A Practical Guide  Environment

This guide is for practitioners who are developing and delivering communications related to invasive animals.

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Tech Resources for Climate Change Programs  Environment

This web page lists free resources provided by the tech community in the following areas: climate change projections around the world; real-time visualization of electricity consumption and resulting CO2 emissions; and calculation of the amount of the carbon footprint or amount of greenhouse gases produced by individual activities, an individual building, or an entire company.

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Resources for Those at the Intersection of Behavior and the Environment  Environment

This page highlights RARE's resources for those at the intersection of behavior and the environment.

  • Behavior Change Interventions in Practice: A Synthesis of Criteria, Approaches, Case Studies, and Indicators.
  • The Science of Changing Behavior for Environmental Outcomes: A Literature Review.
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The Social Norms Atlas: Understanding global social norms and related concepts  HealthSafety

The Social Norms Atlas is a collective effort led by the Social Norms Learning Collaborative to foster awareness, understanding, and the ability to address a variety of social norms as they relate to development outcomes.

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