Since 2003, USF faculty have worked with a coalition of over 55 organizations, concerned parents, and high school students in Lexington, Kentucky to design and implement interventions to prevent obesity among “tweens” (youth 9 -13 years of age). One of the coalition’s most successful endeavors was the use of community-based prevention marketing (CBPM) to design a physical activity promotion program called VERBTM Summer Scorecard. CBPM is a community directed social change process that applies marketing theories and techniques to design, implement, and evaluate public health programs. A central feature of CBPM is community based participatory research which is used as a tool for translating evidence-based research to practice. Social marketing, the application of marketing to design and implement programs to promote socially beneficial change, is the organizing principle for CBPM. CBPM integrates community capacity building principles, behavioral theories, and marketing concepts and methodologies into a synergistic framework for designing behavior change interventions(Bryant, Forthofer et al. 2000).
Scorecard is a community-based extension of the national social marketing and social media campaign, VERBTM – It’s what you do, which provides tweens opportunities to be active in their community during the summer months. The scorecard serves as a ticket into a wide variety of fun physical activities, such as free swimming at public pools, or two-for-one skating. Tweens use the card to track their physical activity. When they have been active for a designated period of time (typically an hour) at a Scorecard site or at home, an adult signs one of the 24 squares on the card. Once all the squares are filled, the card is redeemed for physical activity-related prizes, such as flying disks and water bottles. This also makes them eligible for grand prizes, such as bicycles and YMCA memberships. The Scorecard program also increases parents’ and community partners’ commitment to provide physical activity opportunities for youth. The scorecard and accompanying promotional materials serve as reminders and offer promotional appeals to make it easier for parents to keep their children active and help businesses attract tweens to visit their facilities to try new types of physical activity.
Mixed methods were used to evaluate the VERBTM Summer Scorecard program each year and identify ways to improve program design the following summer. Program activities were observed to identify and solve problems, such as material shortages and provision of incorrect program information. Interviews with parents of tweens who did not participate also yielded valuable insights. For example, to help parents overcome transportation barriers, a partnership was established with the local public transportation agency, Lextran, allowing the Scorecard to double as a bus pass for tweens and an accompanying adult traveling to Scorecard events. Surveys conducted in Lexington-Fayette County public middle schools assessed tweens’ program exposure, program participation, physical activity levels, and, in 2006, their intention to participate the following summer.
Scorecard programs have been replicated in at least 16 other communities. The formative research and marketing plan that guided the development of the VERBTM -Summer Scorecard program are available on the Lexington Tween Nutrition and Fitness Project page. Other products or activities created by the coalition (e.g., promoting nutrition at schools) are available on the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky website.
Most communities implement the Scorecard program during the summer months and link their program to the VERBTM program by using its logo and other promotional graphics. While the VERB program has been discontinued in recent years, elements of the Scorecard program exist in programs in Florida and Kentucky.
The College of Public Health at the University of South Florida is the parent organization for the Florida Prevention Research Center and is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number 1-U48-DP-000062. The department home for the Florida Prevention Research Center is Community and Family Health. Findings, conclusions, and comments on this web site are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please direct questions about this webpage to email@example.com.