Research to Support the Development of a Campaign to Increase Physical Activity Among Low-Income, Urban, Diverse, Inactive Teens


Palmer-Keenan, D.M.; Bair, K.


Objective: To ascertain inactive teens’ insights regarding the types of physical activities (PAs) they would be willing to do, and to inform a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education PA social marketing campaign targeting this audience. Design: Formative, qualitative research via focus groups. Setting: Low-income, urban New Jersey areas between September, 2013 and April, 2014. Participants: Low-income, urban, ethnically diverse, inactive teens. Phenomenon of Interest: Teens’ favored PAs and insights into how to develop a successful marketing campaign. Analysis: Edited audio-transcriptions were coded and a constant comparative analysis was employed to identify emergent themes. Results: Data from 5 focus groups’ teens (n = 31), 58% of whom were Hispanic, 23% of whom were African American, and 19% of whom were of mixed race, revealed 3 themes. To be appealing, PAs (1) must be fun (eg, dancing, with friends and families) and (2) need to be comfortable (indoors, not sweaty, not physically competitive or embarrassing), and (3) they must be promoted by “cool” and relatable people (eg, teens like themselves or young comedians). Conclusions and Implications: Nutrition and health educators and social marketers may be well advised to consider the unique preferences of inactive teens to improve their PA levels. Additional research in varied geographic regions is advisable. © 2019


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