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Campaigns and Informational Approaches to Increase Physical Activity: Community-Wide Campaigns

Community-wide campaigns to increase physical activity are interventions that:

  • Involve many community sectors
  • Include highly visible, broad-based, multicomponent strategies (e.g., social support, risk factor screening or health education)
  • May also address other cardiovascular disease risk factors, particularly diet and smoking

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends community-wide campaigns on the basis of strong evidence of effectiveness in increasing physical activity and improving physical fitness among adults and children.

Task Force Finding

Results from the Systematic Review

Ten studies qualified for the review.

  • Percentage of people who report being physically active: median net increase of 4.2% (interquartile range: -2.9% to 9.4%; 6 study arms)
  • Energy expenditure: median net increase of 16.3% (interquartile range: 7.6% to 21.4%; 3 study arms)
  • Other measures of physical activity: all but one of five study arms showed increases in physical activity.
  • This review also found evidence that community-wide campaigns are effective in increasing:
    • Knowledge about exercise and physical activity
    • The intention to be more physically active
  • These campaigns can also reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease. However, studies that measured body weight changes had mixed results. Some studies showed weight loss, but others showed no change or even slight weight gain.
  • The results of this review should be applicable to most communities in the United States if the campaign is adapted to specific needs and interests of the target population.

These results were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice, and policy related to increasing physical activity.

image of planetFind a Research-tested Intervention Program (RTIP) External Web Site Icon about the use of community-wide campaigns to increase physical activity (What is an RTIP?).

Supporting Materials


Kahn EB, Ramsey LT, Brownson R, et al. The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity: a systematic review. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 3.14 MB] Am J Prev Med 2002;22(4S):73-107.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to increase physical activity in communities. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 70 kB] Am J Prev Med 2002;22 (4S):67-72.

CDC. Increasing physical activity. A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR 2001;50 (RR-18):1-16. External Web Site Icon

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Physical activity. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 302 kB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:80-113.

Read other Community Guide publications about Increasing Physical Activity in our library.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Campaigns and informational approaches to increase physical activity: community-wide campaigns. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: February 2001