Eat Smart to Play Hard Formative Research
The Eat Smart to Play Hard social marketing initiative is based on insights gathered from the priority population before it was developed. The strategic marketing plan was created after several years of formative research. During Phase I of the formative research, we conducted six focus groups in Spanish in urban and rural areas of New Mexico to get to know the audience and to understand their barriers to achieving good nutrition, as well as their perceptions of its benefits. In Phase II, participants in eight focus groups had the opportunity to give their feedback about USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) core nutrition messages and supporting content in Spanish. They were asked about the use of specific words in Spanish and if the messages resonated for them. Participants, including both children and adults, were then asked to design a campaign that appealed to them and that they would be likely participate in.
The focus groups were conducted in Spanish with parents of preschool-age children, parents of elementary school-age children, and children who were 8- to 10-years old. Based on the feedback from the focus groups, we developed and pre-tested materials, made modifications to them, and tested them again during Phase III. This phase involved evaluating different strategies to find the approach that would speak best to our audience in order to effectively increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. This is how Eat Smart to Play Hard was created. The entire Eat Smart to Play Hard Campaign, which was pilot tested in 2015 in an urban community, is now being expanded to rural and urban communities across New Mexico.
The ESPH intervention consists of many components all focused on engaging New Mexican families in healthy living. Some of the strategies developed from this formative research include student passports with fun recipes and activities, recognizing successful fifth grade students as Champions of health, posters and banners, weekly newsletters, and the Fun Day to celebrate the students’ successes.