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Strategic Alliance  

May 12, 2011

221 Oak Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Tel: 510.444.7738
Fax: 510.663.1280



Dialogue on Food and Activity
Rapid Response Media Network

Creating opportunities for physical activity in the places where children and adults live, learn, work, and play, is critical to community health.  What's more, it’s an issue that many people - advocates and the public alike - see as a high priority. Yet media stories highlighting local efforts to increase access to safe and equitable physical activity opportunities are few and far between.

Communities are making great strides through Communities Putting Prevention to Work and other national and regional initiatives to advance physical activity. Here are five tips, with corresponding examples, to effectively pitch stories about the environmental and policy changes you are making to support activity in your community.

1. Link your efforts with national stories and current events covered in the media.

  • Students in Allouez, WI joined over 600 schools nationwide in the Move Your Body Flash Workout event on May 3rd. While Move Your Body -- part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move Initiative -- was a one-time event across the country, Allouez schools used the day to draw attention to their continuing local efforts to promote activity in schools. Read the Green Bay Press Gazette’s coverage here.

2. Use new research or a groundbreaking study as your news hook.

  • New research announced last week provides further evidence for the linkages between physical education in schools and children’s academic achievement. Results showed that increased physical education woven into academic lessons was linked to increased testing scores.  Read how North Liberty educators used similar research to support changes made in local schools.

3. Generate your own data to show the impact your work is having.

  • In Central California, advocates used data emerging from their own community efforts to generate local media attention and build support. “A neglected park in Pixley that had 10 acres of unused land was cleaned and used to create soccer fields," said Susan Elizabeth, community coordinator for the program in Tulare County. "The soccer fields are now used every day.”
4. Identify major calendar events that relate to your efforts.
  • Hundreds of San Francisco and Bay Area advocates geared up for today’s Bike to Work Day, an annual event highlighting the improvements made to bikeways throughout the region. A number of local business leaders, along with Mayor Edwin Lee, biked to City Hall this morning to show their support. Read S.F. Chronicle’s early coverage of the event.
  • Advocates working to open schoolyards to children and families during non-school hours - through joint use policies - can use the upcoming end of the school year to pitch a story that poses the question:  School's out, where will our community’s children play? See how some California communities have described the need for joint use policies and view success stories.
5. Hold your own events and seek opportunities to link with a high-profile spokesperson.
  • An article in last week’s Boston Globe followed Glover Elementary students and parents during their morning walk to school, as they were joined by Governor Deval Patrick and his dog Toby to celebrate “Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day” to raise awareness of the state’s Safe Routes to School program.  
  • School children in Little Havana, Miami, joined forces with their Mayor and Superintendent at Citrus Grove Elementary’s groundbreaking ceremony to draw attention to the community's need for a playground. Read Miami Herald’s coverage of the event.


Take Action

  • Use the five tips to help pitch your community’s story to a local reporter.
  • Post a comment online in support of the stories discussed above.
  • Monitor media coverage of physical activity-related stories and post comments or send letters highlighting your community's efforts.
  • Did you notice a missed opportunity in the news to highlight physical activity?
    Use this as an opportunity to educate the media on the importance of physical activity by submitting a letter to the editor or contacting the reporter directly.

Did you pitch a story, submit an editorial, or get something in the news?
Send us a quick note so we can make sure your efforts are recognized.


The Strategic Alliance is reframing the debate on nutrition and physical activity away from a focus solely on individual choice and lifestyle towards one of environmental influences and corporate and government responsibility. Current Steering Committee members are: California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program (CANFit), California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) , California Project LEAN, California WIC Association (CWA), Child Care Food Program Roundtable, Latino Health Access, Partnership for the Public's Health, PolicyLink, Prevention Institute, Samuels & Associates, and Public Health Law and Policy.

The Strategic Alliance is currently engaged in building a broad and diverse statewide membership. To join or for more information, please visit us on the Web, www.eatbettermovemore.org, or contact Phebe Gibson at 510.444.7738 or Phebe@preventioninstitute.org. And even if you're already a member, please forward this message on to your colleagues so we can continue to strengthen our coalition. Thank you!

The Strategic Alliance is reframing the debate on nutrition and
physical activity - from a focus solely on individual choice and lifestyle,
towards one of environmental influences and corporate and government responsibility.
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