Survey Findings Prove the VERB Campaign is Motivating Youth to Get Active

Atlanta, GA.--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--February 17, 2004--The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released today results from a survey that indicate physical activity among the nation’s youth is increasing as a result of a national youth media campaign launched by the agency in 2002. The award winning multicultural campaign known as VERB(TM) had one of the largest effects, a 34 percent increase, in weekly free-time physical activity sessions among 8.6 million children ages 9-10 in the United States.

A telephone survey of 6,000 youth and their parents was conducted in 2002 prior to launching the VERB(TM) campaign and it was repeated among the same families in 2003. A rigorous analysis of the data collected made it possible to measure changes in physical activity attributed to the VERB(TM) campaign among youth ages 9-13 in the U.S. population.

“The results of this evaluation are impressive and substantiate that the VERB(TM) campaign has surpassed expectations and is responsible for improving physical activity levels among youth,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie L. Gerberding. “Our national, multicultural efforts are helping young people to realize that physical activity is fun, cool and can be a part of everyday life. This is critical to reducing the epidemic of overweight among today’s youth.”

The Youth Media Campaign Longitudinal Survey, conducted by an independent research company, also showed that the VERB(TM) campaign was especially effective in shrinking the gap in physical activity levels between boys and girls. There was a 27 percent increase in free-time physical activity sessions among U.S. girls in the entire 9-13 age range. Likewise, 6 million children from lower-middle income households(1) registered a 25 percent increase in free-time physical activity sessions despite the barriers they faced including transportation issues, safety concerns and less access to physical activity resources.

In communities(2) that received higher levels of VERB(TM) marketing activity, the increases in physical activity were even more dramatic. The CDC found that the number of least active(3) 9-10 year olds was reduced by 33 percent as a result of the VERB(TM) campaign. The number of least active 9-13 year old girls decreased even more, by 37 percent, in these communities. There was a 38 percent decline among least active 9-13 year olds from lower-middle income households.

“Obesity costs the country $117 billion dollars a year in medical expenses,” said Dr. James Marks, director, CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Marketing programs like this one are proving to be successful in reducing the health and economic impact of this disease and are encouraging us to adopt similar strategies to address other priority health problems.”

For more information on the VERB(TM) campaign, log on to http://www.cdc.gov/VERB. Also, check out http://www.VERBnow.com (for tweens) and http://www.VERBparents.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

(1) Lower-middle income households are those that earn $25,000-$50,000. Lowest income households earned less than $25,000.
(2) Communities: Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Columbus, OH; Greenville, SC; Houston, TX; and Green Bay, WI.
(3) Low-active children participated in no organized and less than three free-time physical activity sessions during the past week.

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CONTACT:
CDC National Center for Chronic Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion
Press Office
(770) 488-5131

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