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Tina Lankford, Jana Wallace, David Brown, Jesus Soares, Jacqueline N. Epping and Fred Fridinger

Background:

Mass media campaigns are a necessary tool for public health practitioners to reach large populations and promote healthy behaviors. Most health scholars have concluded that mass media can significantly influence the health behaviors of populations; however the effects of such campaigns are typically modest and may require significant resources. A recent Community Preventive Services Task Force review on stand-alone mass media campaigns concluded there was insufficient evidence to determine their effectiveness in increasing physical activity, partly due to mixed methods and modest and inconsistent effects on levels of physical activity.

Methods:

A secondary analysis was performed on the campaigns evaluated in the Task Force review to determine use of campaign-building principles, channels, and levels of awareness and their impact on campaign outcomes. Each study was analyzed by 2 reviewers for inclusion of campaign building principles.

Results:

Campaigns that included 5 or more campaign principles were more likely to be successful in achieving physical activity outcomes.

Conclusion:

Campaign success is more likely if the campaign building principles (formative research, audience segmentation, message design, channel placement, process evaluation, and theory-based) are used as part of campaign design and planning.

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Jesus Soares, Jacqueline N. Epping, Chantelle J. Owens, David R. Brown, Tina J. Lankford, Eduardo J. Simoes and Carl J. Caspersen

Background:

We aimed to determine the likelihood that adult dog owners who walk their dogs will achieve a healthy level of moderate-intensity (MI) physical activity (PA), defined as at least 150 mins/wk.

Methods:

We conducted a systematic search of 6 databases with data from 1990–2012 on dog owners’ PA, to identify those who achieved MIPA. To compare dog-walkers’ performance with non-dog walkers, we used a random effects model to estimate the unadjusted odds ratio (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results:

We retrieved 9 studies that met our inclusion criterion and allowed OR calculations. These yielded data on 6980 dog owners aged 18 to 81 years (41% men). Among them, 4463 (63.9%) walked their dogs. Based on total weekly PA, 2710 (60.7%) dog walkers, and 950 (37.7%) non-dog walkers achieved at least MIPA. The estimated OR was 2.74 (95% CI 2.09–3.60).

Conclusion:

Across 9 published studies, almost 2 in 3 dog owners reported walking their dogs, and the walkers are more than 2.5 times more likely to achieve at least MIPA. These findings suggest that dog walking may be a viable strategy for dog owners to help achieve levels of PA that may enhance their health.

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Amy Eyler, Tina Lankford, Jamie Chriqui, Kelly R. Evenson, Judy Kruger, Nancy Tompkins, Carolyn Voorhees, Susan Zieff, Semra Aytur and Ross Brownson

Background:

Trails provide opportunities for recreation, transportation and activity. The purpose of this article is to describe state legislation related to community trails, to analyze legislation content, and to evaluate legislation on inclusion of evidence-informed elements.

Methods:

State trail legislation from 2001 to 2008 was identified using online legislative databases. An analysis of evidence-informed elements included in the legislation was conducted. These elements included: funding, liability, accessibility, connectivity, and maintenance.

Results:

Of the total 991 trail bills, 516 (52.0%) were appropriations bills, of which 167 (32.2%) were enacted. We analyzed 475 (48%) nonappropriation trail bills of which 139 (29.3%) were enacted. The percentage of enactment of appropriations bills decreased over time while enactment of nonappropriations trail bills increased. Over half of the nonappropriations trail bills included at least 1 evidence-informed element, most commonly funding. Few bills contained liability, connectivity, accessibility, or maintenance.

Conclusions:

There is opportunity for providing evidence-informed information to policy-makers to potentially influence bill content. The number of bills with a funding element demonstrates that fiscal support for trails is an important policy lever that state legislatures may use to support trails. Lastly, trails should be considered in over-all state-level physical activity legislation to provide opportunities for communities to be active.