A Public Health Messaging Campaign to Reduce Caloric Intake: Feedback From Expert Stakeholders

Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm, Anam M. Bhatti, Meghan L. Ames, Daniel Zaltz, Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To obtain expert feedback on a public health messaging campaign to reduce caloric intake in US adults. Design and Setting: In 2018, researchers conducted semistructured telephone interviews with US-based experts in obesity prevention, mental health, and health communications. Participants: The research team invited 100 experts to participate using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Of those invited, 60 completed interviews, among which 37 (62%) were obesity prevention experts, 12 (20%) were mental health experts, and 11 (18%) were health communications experts. Main Outcome Measure: Expert feedback regarding a public health messaging campaign to reduce caloric intake. Analysis: Two researchers reviewed and coded all transcripts. The team identified major themes and summarized findings. Results: Most experts identified barriers to effective calorie reduction including social and environmental factors, lack of actionable strategies, and confusion regarding healthy eating messages. Expert suggestions for effective messaging included addressing eating patterns, emphasizing nutrient density, and dissemination through multiple channels and trusted sources. In general, mental health experts more frequently voiced concerns regarding eating disorders, and communications experts raised issues regarding the dissemination of campaigns. Conclusions and Implications: Professionals should identify and address barriers to delivering a calorie reduction campaign before implementation, using strategies that enhance delivery to ensure an effective campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-606
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • calorie reduction
  • formative research
  • health communication campaign
  • nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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