Managing the Messaging: Let’s Go LinCo!

October 18, 2011
By Darry Madden

Let's Go LinCo Healthy Weight messaging
The Washington Healthy Weight Collaborative team aimed for a clear, effective and strong healthy living message.
In 2010, the overweight rate in the Davenport School District in Lincoln County, Washington, grades K – 7 was 15 percent, and another 16 percent were at risk for being overweight. The adult rate in Lincoln County combined for 2004-2007 is 36 percent overweight and 25 percent obese, which is comparable to the state rate of 36 percent overweight and 24 percent obese. These numbers are in line with the rest of the state and with the rest of the country as well. Things are not exceptionally bad here, but still, they’re not good enough, says Ed Dzedzy, administrator at the Lincoln County Health Department and the team lead on the Collaborate for Healthy Weight team for Washington.

Unifying the Message
A Washington team member discusses the team’s Storyboard with other participants. As with most of the teams participating in this initiative, the Washington team’s first step in their fight to bring those numbers down was to unify their message. They wanted it to be the same message from all the partners, and they wanted it to be clear, effective and strong.

But it didn’t go exactly according to plan, in the best possible way.

“A funny thing happened when we got home from the September kick-off meeting in Washington, DC,” says Dzedzy. “We had been focusing on developing our unified message and hadn’t gone to the public yet, but we were already getting calls from the community for action. We had a resident call asking what they could do. We had a teacher call and say she was having her 4th grade class do a play on nutrition along with our message this year. We got called to the Davenport Lions club to do a presentation about our activities and they want to know how they can help. The ship is sailing and we haven’t even unveiled our sails yet. It’s exciting.”

5-4-3-2-1 Let’s Go LinCo!
While they haven’t told the community about the messaging they’re working on, it is done, complete with a fresh new logo. They opted for “5-4-3-2-1 Let’s Go LinCo” as their message, borrowed from the state of Maine’s “5210 Let’s Go” campaign.

Danita Hammond, Community Health Educator with the Lincoln County Health Department and a member of the team, designed the logo. The numbers indicate five servings of fruits and vegetables, four glasses of water, three servings of non-fat dairy, two or fewer hours of television, and one or more hour of physical activity daily.

With the logo and design concept complete, Hammond and the team will be creating pamphlets, a provider toolkit and a health assessment. They’re applying for outside grants to help fund the production of more publications. “Ed’s been meeting with our partners to make sure they all have a long term commitment to this message,” says Hammond.

Measuring the Message
Davenport Elementary School in Lincoln County, WATheir Washington team’s project is focused on the Davenport School District grades K-6. Ultimately, their project will outlast the nine-month long Healthy Weight learning collaborative, as they intend to track this year’s crop of K-6 kids as they age, and the next crop as they enter. Because real changes in body mass index (BMI) cannot be measured in so short a time span, they believe their best measure for the collaborative might be how well kids know the “5-4-3-2-1 Let’s Co LinCo” message at the end of the school year.