Health Promotion at the Ballpark: Peanuts, Popcorn, and Mighty Molar

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Abstract

The arrival of a new summer collegiate baseball league franchise to a small central New York city was seen as an opportunity for health promotion. The initiative was set up to explore two overarching questions: (1) Are summer collegiate baseball events acceptable to local public health organizations as viable places for health promotion activities addressing local health issues? (2) Are summer collegiate baseball organizations amenable to health promotion activities built in to their fan and/or player experiences? Planning and implementation were guided by precede–proceed, social cognitive theory, social marketing, and diffusion of innovations constructs. Environmental changes were implemented to support healthy eating and nontobacco use by players and fans; four health awareness nights were implemented at home games corresponding to local public health priorities and included public service announcements, between inning quizzes, information dissemination at concession and team market locations, and special guests. Sales and fan feedback support mostly healthy concession offerings and a tobacco-free ballpark; postseason evaluations from team staff and public health partners support continuing the trials of this sports event as a venue for health promotion.

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