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Development and Evaluation of a University Campus–Based Food Safety Media Campaign for Young Adults

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Food safety information campaigns are more likely to be most effective if the messages are tailored to the needs of a specific audience. Designing effective campaigns involves careful study of the target population and working with them using a community-based participatory research model. Thus, the development of the campaign materials for a university campus–based food safety media campaign for young adults followed intense efforts of working with the target audience to gather the baseline data needed to characterize this audience, to identify the most salient messages for college students, and to create materials and events that would resonate with them. This campaign was implemented and evaluated on eight university campuses in the United States. The results indicate that the campaign significantly increased self-ratings of food safety knowledge and skill, actual food safety knowledge, food safety self-efficacy, stage of change for safe food handling, and reported hand washing behaviors of a geographically and racially diverse group of college students. The positive study outcomes support the value of engaging in these research and development efforts and reflect the usefulness of the audience-specific materials and activities developed for the campaign. The findings also demonstrate the versatility and utility of the materials on different campuses. Developing health media campaigns specifically for unique populations is key to ensuring health messages reach the target audience and, even more importantly, appeal to them. The detailed overview of the development of a food safety media campaign aimed at young adults presented in this article illustrates how health professionals can work with their target population to develop a focused, effective health promotion campaign.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA 2: Department of Food Science, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA 3: Department of Food Science & Technology, University of California, Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA 4: Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA.

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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