Changes in Obesity Awareness, Obesity Identification, and Self-Assessment of Health: Results from a Statewide Public Education Campaign

  • Tsai A
  • Boyle T
  • Hill J
 et al. 
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Background: Due to the high prevalence of obesity, individuals may be desensitized to weight as a personal health concern. Purpose: To evaluate changes in obesity awareness associated with a statewide public education campaign in Colorado. Methods: Cross-sectional random digit dial telephone surveys (n = 1,107 pre, n = 1101 post) were conducted before and after an intensive 22-week stretch of television advertising, embedded within a multimedia campaign. The main outcomes were awareness of obesity as a personal health issue; correct identification of overweight and obesity; and self-assessment of health status and health behaviors. Results: The pre-advertising survey showed that most individuals believed that their own behaviors were healthier than those of their friends. Respondents frequently were not able to correctly identify an individual as overweight or obese based on height and weight. In the postadvertising survey, individuals were less optimistic about their weight and their health behaviors and were more accurate at identifying overweight and obesity based on height and weight. Discussion: The education campaign increased understanding of obesity as a personal health issue, a necessary precursor to behavior change. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health educators can help individuals to reframe the definition of healthy weight.

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  • Adam G. Tsai

  • Tracy F. Boyle

  • James O. Hill

  • Corina Lindley

  • Karl Weiss

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