Healthy living: how do you reach youth with health campaigns?

Youth crave lemonade and sweets and sometimes prefer gaming to playing outside. It is important to encourage youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle because they develop important habits in terms of eating, exercise and media use. Researchers from the MyMovez project (initiative of Radboud University) have therefore developed a new method to effectively reach youth through their social network with preventive health campaigns. This way, they succeeded in stimulating healthy eating, exercise and media behaviour among youth in an innovative and playful way.

Wearable Lab

For this project, we conducted a large-scale study involving 1,000 youths aged between 8 and 15. The study lasted three years and consisted of three steps. In the first step, researchers searched for the most influential people in the youth's social network and analyzed the ways in which these individuals exerted their influence. The second step looked at how different health campaigns affected the most influencial youth in the group. This was done with the Wearable Lab. A wristband measuring youth's physical activity and a smartphone containing the MyMovez application with the MyMovez Lifestyle campaign. Within the identified social networks, the youth were then encouraged or not encouraged to spread the campaign message and set a good example, for example by exercising more or drinking water instead of soft drinks. Finally, the third step evaluated the effectiveness of the health campaigns.

The researchers gained many new insights during the research project, especially the Wearable Lab was a great success! Wondering what this looked like? Watch the video below!