The Health Benefits Of (E-mail) Spam
just a mysterious lunch meat anymore. As part of a larger Canadian
exercise and health study, researchers at the University of Alberta
sent weekly e-mail reminders to volunteers at five large workplaces
over a 12-week period. Of the nearly 2,600 workers, those who were
"spammed" with weekly health promotion e-mails in their inbox increased
their physical activity and were more willing to make changes in their
eating habits when compared to the control group who did not receive
intervention group actually reduced – although marginally
its mean body mass index (BMI). In contrast, the mean BMI for the
control group slightly increased.
the unobtrusiveness, cost-effectiveness and practical appeal of e-mail
messages, researchers felt that "e-mail deliveries of health promotion
messages can have small, yet beneficial, effects on health behaviors
over a short time frame." Writing in the current issue of the American
Journal of Health Promotion,
the researchers added that more aesthetically pleasing e-mails, used
more frequently, could be more persuasive than the plain text messages
used in the study.
how does a
busy wellness manager generate "aesthetically pleasing" e-mails?
Increasing numbers of nonprofit organizations provide free fact sheets
on their Web sites. For instance, Healthsmart, a
service of the
National Business Coalition on Health, developed a series of 11
messages with text and hyperlinks on stroke prevention designed
specifically for e-mail use.
that offer commercially developed wellness content often have CD-ROM
options. As long as copyright guidelines are adhered to, these products
can often be attached, or included directly, into an e-mail. Parlay
International actually licenses the user and allows them to distribute
their content and graphics within the licensee’s company in
way they wish (Note: Parlay asks that e-mail recipients not reproduce
the content or graphics and distribute to other users).
on the e-mail health tip concept is to develop wellness brainteasers or
puzzles and send them out as e-mail attachments. Consider sending out
specially designed crossword puzzles as a promotion strategy prior to
upcoming programs or seminars.
words and related definitions based on the content of the program.
Commercial crossword puzzle software is extremely inexpensive. Once you
decide the words that go in the puzzle, the software develops the
resulting puzzle. Depending on your budget, prizes could be offered to
those who submit the correct answers (which would provide an incentive
for employees to not only attend the program, but pay close attention).
University of Alberta, 114 St - 89 Ave., Edmonton Alberta, Canada T6G
2E1; (780) 492-3111, www.ualberta.ca.
American Journal of Health Promotion, 4301 Orchard Lake Road #160-201,
W. Bloomfield, MI 48323; (248) 682-0707, www.healthpromotionjournal.com.
Healthsmart/National Coalition on Health, 1015 18th
Street NW, Suite 730, Washington DC, 20036; (202) 775-9300, www.healthsmart.org.
Parlay International, 712 Bancroft Rd #505, Walnut Creek, CA 94598;
(800) 457-2752, www.parlay.com.