Oral Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting

LiveLighter  Phase II “Sugary Drinks” mass media campaign (#105)

Maurice Swanson 1 , Maria Szybiak 1 , Trevor Shilton 1 , Steve Pratt 2 , Terry Slevin 2 , Belinda Morley 3 , Philippa Niven 3 , Helen Dixon 3 , Melanie Wakefield 3
  1. Heart Foundation, Subiaco, WA, Australia
  2. Cancer Council WA, Shenton Park, WA, Australia
  3. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Background:  In 2012, the Department of Health WA contracted the Heart Foundation in WA to develop an evidence-based public education campaign to address unhealthy weight in adults in WA.  This was in response to the increasing prevalence of obesity and the need to present obesity as a serious public health issue. The 2013-2014 Phase II campaign, “Sugary Drinks”, graphically depicts visceral fat around vital organs and focuses on the contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) to the development of toxic fat and ultimately disease.   

Method:  The campaign has employed similar strategies to those used by successful social marketing campaigns designed to reduce the prevalence of smoking. Paid media advertising that graphically portrays the negative health effects of excess visceral fat has been complemented by generating unpaid media coverage. A dedicated campaign website provides important information and individually-tailored applications for healthy eating and physical activity to achieve a healthy weight. Tactical advertising promotes the campaign’s advocacy priorities. The impact of Phase II of the campaign was assessed using computer assisted telephone surveys (CATI) of a cohort of 1500 adults between August 2013 and April 2014.

Results: Responses from the junk food and drink industries, the media industry and international and national stakeholders advocating for the Campaign to be run outside Western Australia will be presented together with process evaluation data from the Campaign. 

Conclusion:  The LiveLighter campaign has demonstrated that hard hitting public education campaigns can be successful in raising awareness, especially among overweight and obese adults. The Campaign has achieved important traction for the issue of obesity and the development of chronic disease in Western Australia. Consequently, the LiveLighter campaign is now being conducted in Victoria and the ACT and is generating interest internationally.