Year of Publication

2017

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Mark Swanson, PhD

Committee Member

Robin Vanderpool, DrPH, CHES

Committee Member

Kathryn Cardarelli, PhD

Abstract

As obesity rates continue to rise, there is a significant need for public health programs that are able to effectively increase physical activity at the community level. Regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of negative health outcomes associated with obesity including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer while also strengthening muscles, improving mental health and mood, and increasing average life expectancy. Previous research has supported that one way to increase physical activity at the community level is through social marketing of state and local parks. Through the promotion of parks, community residents are able to reduce common barriers to regular physical activity that are often associated with gym memberships and recreational facilities including finances, personal insecurities, and time away from family. Due to the relatively inexpensive marketing costs, the incorporation of social marketing practice has the potential to be a cost-effective way to increase park usage and physical activity that could be utilized in low-income communities throughout the United States. Therefore, the current program proposal will be evaluating a previously conducted randomized control trial that was able to effectively increase park attendance and physical activity through marketing efforts in local California parks and assessing the translatability of these results at the General Butler State Park in Carroll County, Kentucky.

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