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Volume 8 – Winter 2015

Using strategic social marketing to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors to parents and children in Switzerland: the development of FAN.

Natalie Rangelov, MA,1 L. Suzanne Suggs, PhD, MS, CHES.1,2
Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing. 2015;8:27-50.

Author Affiliations

1 BeCHANGE Research Group, Institute for Public Communication, Faculty of Communication Sciences, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland.
2 Visiting Reader, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK.


Background: Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are among the primary determinants of overweight and obesity. Childhood overweight and obesity are the highest in Switzerland’s most southern state (Canton Ticino). One policy initiative to address the problem was the “Healthy Weight Program” sponsored by the Ticino Cantonal Department of Health and Social Affairs. The program included several school and community based initiatives, including a community-based, social marketing initiative called “Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione” (FAN).

Methods: This case study presents data collected from the FAN project during the formative research, implementation, and post-intervention phases of a larger randomized controlled trial. Results presented describe the development process of the program in accordance with social marketing benchmark criteria, participation and retention rates, and program satisfaction.

Results: The social marketing benchmark criteria were operationalized and implemented in the development of FAN. The recruitment goal of 250 families was exceeded, with 555 families enrolled and 543 deemed eligible. Seventy-two percent completed the immediate post-program evaluation questionnaire. Almost 85% of parents evaluated FAN positively. The majority stated that FAN met their expectations (65%), motivated them to eat healthier (60%), and engage in more physical activity (40%). The majority of parents and children were satisfied with the various components of the program and found them useful.

Conclusion: Co-creation activities and following the social marketing framework were considered to be instrumental in achieving high levels of consumer participation and satisfaction with this community-based program. The time necessary to do strategic social marketing, was time well spent. (Full-text PDF)


  • • Social marketing
  • • Body weight
  • • Child
  • • Parents
  • • Health behavior
  • • Physical activity
  • • Nutrition

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