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Social Marketing Model and Lay Health Educators Help Increase Physical Activity for Patients With Diabetes

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Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Topic: Health (Health services for the chronically ill)


Move More is the Building Community Supports for Diabetes Care project of MaineGeneral Health in Waterville, Maine. Move More targets adults 30 to 70 years of age with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes who are currently physically active but do not consistently meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.

To increase physical activity among these patients, Move More aims to increase enrollment in diabetes self-management skill development programs and facilitate achievement of physical activity and other diabetes self-management goals. The project is based on the 5P model of social marketing:

1. Places – Locations to deliver messages, including work sites, health care settings, faith and community settings, and local newspapers
2. Price – Cost to participants, in dollars as well as time and effort
3. Product – Accumulation of 150 minutes of physical activity per week
4. Promotion – Developing strategies to make physical activity attractive to participants
5. Policy – Working with community partners to create and promote physical activity opportunities and other types of environmental change

An integral component of Move More is the use of lay health educators (LHEs) who are trained to implement the 5P social marketing strategies. LHEs are peer volunteers from the community, many of whom have type 2 diabetes. During self-management education classes, LHEs assist participants with developing physical activity action plans and recording their progress. They provide participants with walking maps, pedometers and log sheets, as well as referrals to other self-management resources in the community. LHEs also assist patients with building stress-management skills and send weekly motivational e-mails as positive reinforcement.

Key Lessons:

* Long-standing collaborative relationships provide a strong foundation for expanding or developing new projects.
* Social marketing strategies serve as valuable guides for addressing the "Community Resources and Policy" component of the Chronic Care Model.
* Volunteer lay health educators are an effective way to promote, support and increase the physical activity of target audiences.


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