VERB (program)

The VERB was a physical activity program of the US Government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It included paid national print, online and television advertising, airing them on popular children’s channels and popular children’s magazines, for example. It ran from 2002 to 2006. The main goal of the VERB campaign was to increase and maintain physical activity among “pre-teens” (children aged 9 to 13). The campaign is based on social marketing principles (product, price, location and promotion) and aims culturally at this age group. It encourages changes in the lifestyle such as playing more and “trying new verbs”. An evaluation of the program in 2004 showed that it was expansive in scope. Of the children exposed, 96% said they understood at least one key message from the campaign. Children who reported being aware of the VERB campaign participated in 3.9 weekly sessions of leisure activities while unconscious children of the VERB reported 3 sessions of physical activity. This is a difference of 22% between the conscious and the untrained verb. In 2004, an additional program called “VERB Summer Scorecard” was born from the VERB national campaign. The VERB Summer Scorecard dashboard was developed for the first time by Fit Kentucky and the Lexington Fayette County Health Department (creation of the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition). It has since been adapted and disseminated in 22 communities, including Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado. The VERB Summer Dashboard encourages and stimulates physical activity opportunities by creating a “passport” system (scorecard) that allows children to follow their physical activity. It creates “activity-friendly communities” to facilitate exercise.

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