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CDC Uses Advertising Campaign to Get Kids Moving

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But these results don’t come cheap. VERB received $194 million in federal funding in its first two years. Huhman said the payoffs down the road are likely to be worth it. “If you look at the cost per child related to the campaign versus the cost of obesity-related illnesses, we think it’s a very good investment.”

Sylvia Moore, Ph.D., assistant dean at the University of Wyoming School of Medicine, said she was initially a skeptic, primarily because of the campaign’s cost. However, she finds the results impressive: “As somebody who actually is trying to promote healthy behaviors, I am going to use this study to say it’s OK to buy ads in newspapers and pay for communities to put up billboards or banners because we now have evidence that it helps.”

Moore said the study shows there is a role for mass marketing in improving health behaviors. “We say to the food industry to quit marketing [unhealthy food] to children. At the same time we’re recognizing the power of marketing to change behaviors.”

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