In her article on obesity, Joanne Thomas commences by providing insight to her readers on issues influencing obesity in the community. From Thomas’ perspective, efforts by the government which are normally observed through development and implementation of policies are inadequate in addressing obesity. To address the issue effectively, changes in individual lifestyle are of the essence and in addition to that, further research regarding motivations for changing unhealthy behaviors is necessary. Adopting community programs whose objectives focus on eliminating unhealthy habits can play an important role in addressing the issue.
However, from Thomas’ standpoint, pretesting of program materials comes in handy in guaranteeing the acceptability and credibility of the message conveyed through the program. In concluding the article, Thomas asserts the importance of pretesting in evaluating the health communication campaign. The probing question is: how effective is pretesting in addressing obesity in urban areas? Thomas acknowledges the challenges facing individuals in the urban areas and the critical role of pretesting in dealing with obesity in such areas.
A better understanding of the challenges affecting the community is crucial to ensuring that they are dealt with effectively (Berkowitz & Rabinowitz, 2010). To acquire an adequate understanding of the challenges, participation of the local community or target audience is imperative to avoid use of words or messages which might be considered hateful or hostile to a particular group of people. In her research, Thomas plans to employ random survey method in order to get the strengths and weaknesses of the program materials and messages as well as suggestions for improving the program.
Due to the fact that the effectiveness of program messages and materials in reaching the target audience greatly depends on the survey questions, it is paramount to ensure that they are brief, direct to the point and relevant to the program (Siegel & Lotenberg, 2007). The questions in the article seem to be aligned in the right direction of improving the program for addressing obesity. Using survey method exclusively might be termed inadequate since the method has its shortcomings. Integrating survey method with other techniques such as market research techniques might be useful in eliminating flaws and enhancing program evaluation.
Such techniques are considered economical and can collect information quickly thus might come in handy in refining the program messages and materials to greater effectiveness (Poscente, Rothstein, & Irvine, 2002). Moreover, in spite of Thomas involving the target audience in pretesting, excluding professionals in the health sector particularly on obesity makes the program susceptible to biasness and incompetence. Health professionals have vast knowledge on obesity as well as ways of addressing issues associated with it thereby making their involvement in the program essential to enhancing program effectiveness.
Besides the target audience, it is imperative for Thomas to involve health professionals in the programs. References Berkowitz, B. & Rabinowitz, P. (2010). Analyzing community problems. The Community Tool Box. Retrieved May 20, 2010 from http://ctb. ku. edu/en/tablecontents/sub_section_main_1017. htm Poscente, N. , Rothstein, M. & Irvine, M. J. (2002). Using marketing research methods to evaluate a stage-specific intervention. American Journal of Health Behavior 26(4): 243-251. Siegel, M. & Lotenberg, D. L. (2007). Marketing public health: Strategies to promote social change. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
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