Tailoring a Physical Activity Promotion Program for a Rural Area

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Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport




Background/Purpose: VERBTM Summer Scorecard (VSS) has used social marketing to successfully promote physical activity for urban and suburban youth. The purpose of this study was to adapt the program to meet the needs of a minority, rural population.

Method: Qualitative marketing research methods including focus groups were used to gather data from parents (N = 12) and their children (N =12) in April 2012. A structured, open-ended focus group guide was developed specific to parents and youth and based on the social marketing framework. Marketing topics covered included Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Attention was given to testing two previously used version of the Scorecard that is the central component of the program. All focus groups were conducted by a skilled moderator and were audio-recorded and transcribed. Focus group transcripts were read by the entire team, coded based on social marketing constructs, and summaries with illustrative quotes were created. All materials (i.e. recruitment flyers, focus group guides, and consent forms) and methods were approved by the university Institutional Review Board.

Analysis/Results: Coded transcripts were reviewed for emerging themes. Content analysis was conducted within parent groups and youth groups and across groups for comparison purposes. Results suggested the previously used Scorecards would not work with African-American youth and families in rural Georgia.

Conclusions: What works for one community, may not work for another. Qualitative market research enabled the investigators to culturally tailor physical activity interventions prior to implementation, thereby, increasing adoption and odds of success with the target audience.