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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Finding the keys to successful campaigns promoting healthy weight and lifestyle

This project aimed to assess the potential effectiveness of a range of existing television advertisements (ads) pertaining to healthy weight, healthy eating and physical activity using a mixed-methods approach. The combined findings of our quantitative and qualitative studies provide a better understanding of the most promising content and executional styles of ads that could be pursued as part of obesity prevention campaigns. Overall, the quantitative results indicate that ads emphasising the negative health consequences of excess weight appear most effective at eliciting stronger cognitive and emotional responses from adults. Further to this, the qualitative results demonstrate that there is fundamental need to create greater awareness of the seriousness of the health consequences of overweight and obesity for messages with behavioural calls to action to be effective. Our findings suggest that health effects messages should be the primary focus of initial obesity prevention campaigns, and that healthy eating and physical activity messages be used to support these.

CBRC staff

Dr Helen Dixon, Prof Melanie Wakefield, A/Prof Sarah Durkin, Dr Emily Brennan, Maree Scully, Sarah Maloney


Trish Cotter (World Lung Foundation), Dr Blythe O’Hara and Prof Chris Rissel (The University of Sydney), Michael Murphy (MMResearch)


Australian National Preventive Health Agency