“Stop the Spread” is safefood’s two-year public health initiative, launched in 2011, which aims to raise awareness that excess weight is now the norm, not the exception and to encourage people to know their waist size and begin to manage their own weight. We worked closely with safefood on all aspects of the launch of “Stop the Spread” and have supported safefood on any subsequent “Stop the Spread” activity.
Objectives for the launch of “Stop the Spread” were to increase awareness that more and more people have become overweight or obese, to encourage the adult population to measure their waist and educate them on how to do this correctly, to raise awareness of the long-term health issues associated with excess weight, to inform people on how to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way and to promote existing safefood supports and resources that can help with this.
The campaign was officially launched on May 10th 2011 at the Royal College of Physicians by Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care, Ms. Roisin Shortall T.D. To maximise cut-through, a press photocall took place with “Stop the Spread” campaign icon and the key waist measurements for women and men being highlighted. 1.2 million free measuring tapes were made available through pharmacies and GP surgeries across Ireland.
Following the campaign launch, 1 in 5 adults claimed to have measured their waist when the campaign was on air, 40% of adults said the campaign motivated them to start losing weight and following the outset of the campaign, considerably more adults considered themselves to be overweight. Significant media coverage was achieved across national and regional print and broadcast media. The message delivered by the press release in media coverage for the campaign was extremely strong, sustained over an extended period and engaged on a variety of different levels and media channels. There was a significant surge on social media channels including Twitter and Facebook and the safefood website experienced peak web traffic.