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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013, Article ID 516767, 6 pages
Research Article

Newspaper Coverage Effects on the Promotion of a Lifestyle Intervention Program

Department of Education and Sport Science, University of Stavanger, 4036 Stavanger, Norway

Received 15 May 2013; Revised 5 September 2013; Accepted 26 September 2013

Academic Editor: George P. Nassis

Copyright © 2013 Sindre M. Dyrstad and Leif I. Tjelta. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study’s purpose was to measure the impact of an individually designed lifestyle intervention program on the readers of a regional newspaper. A newspaper with 180,000 daily readers covered a story about three untrained and overweight adults who participated in an individually designed lifestyle intervention program. Their goals were to become physically fit and run a half marathon (21.1 km) after 14 weeks of training. The newspaper published on average three weekly articles throughout the project period, including the weekly training program and a record of the physical improvements made by the participants. The number of hits on the project’s web site was recorded. Spin-off effects on the responses of readers were mapped. The project's web site had 25,000 unique weekly hits. Significant spin-off effects included the establishment of training groups which were still active after two years and the launch of a similar project by another regional newspaper. This individually designed lifestyle intervention program was successfully scaled up and reached a large number of the newspaper’s readers. The collaboration between a newspaper and exercise researchers could also be adapted to other press media and represents a novel approach to improve participation in physical activities.