Maibach, E.W. (2003). Recreating Communities to Support Active Living: A New Role for Social Marketing. American Journal of Health Promotion, 18(1), 114-119.
The lack of routine physical activity has become an all too pervasive health threat in the United States. Social marketing can be used directly to promote increased physical activity among people who have access to active living options (e.g., safe and convenient sidewalks or bike paths). A second, albeit indirect, use of social marketing to promote physical activity — and the focus of this article — involves promoting behaviors that inﬂuence the built environment for the purpose of increasing people’s access to active living options. This use of social marketing involves changing the behavior of consumers, developers, distribution channels (e.g., real estate agents) and policy makers. The approach offers public health and other organizations a disciplined, consumer-focused means of mobilizing their available resources in a manner that maximizes the odds of creating active living communities. These means include understanding the competition, understanding target markets, creating mutually beneﬁcial exchanges, segmenting markets and targeting them based on anticipated return. This article identiﬁes speciﬁc opportunities for applying the social marketing approach to create active living communities, and identiﬁes opportunities at the state and national level that will enhance the effectiveness of local efforts.