Featured Case Study: FAN (Family, physical Activity, Nutrition)

Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione (FAN)

Project to promote physical activity and healthy food consumption

Location: Canton Ticino, Switzerland

Target:  Families with children in elementary and first two classes of middle school

Edition 1:  556parents,750 children

Edition 2: 360 parents, 397 children

Length: Two editions each of 8 weeks. Edition one started on 04 October 2010. Edition two started on 10 April 2012.

Behavior: Encourage initiation, improvement, and/or maintenance of healthy nutrition and regular physical activity


  • BeCHANGE Research Group, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), Lugano Switzerland
    • Prof. Suzanne Suggs, Associate Professor of Social Marketing and Chair of the European Social Marketing Association
    • Dr. Natalie Rangelov, Post-doctoral Researcher and Lecturer in Social Marketing
  • Health Promotion and Evaluation Service, Department of Health and Social Affairs of Canton Ticino, Switzerland
  • Health Promotion Switzerland

Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione (FAN) is a social marketing intervention aimed to encourage the initiation, improvement, and/or maintenance of healthy nutrition and physical activity among children in elementary and middle school and their parents. It was implemented in Ticino Switzerland, a state located in the most southern part of the country and where they have the highest rates of obesity and overweight.

FAN was developed by the BeCHANGE Research Group at Università della Svizzera italiana in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Affairs of Canton Ticino, and Health Promotion Switzerland. The intervention was conducted in parallel to school and community based initiatives within the Department of Health and Social Affair’s “Health Body Weight” program.

FAN was the only tailored technology-based program targeting families directly in their homes.

FAN focused on families with children in elementary and first two classes of middle school and was implemented in two editions, each lasting 8 weeks. The first edition (visit site) started on the 4th of October  and ended on the 11th of November, 2010,  and the second (visit site) took place from April 10th to June 3rd, 2012. Participation was free of charge.

Using the eight social marketing benchmarks facilitated a robust understanding of the context, including real and perceived barriers at the individual, structural, commercial, and policy levels. Desk research, focus groups, interviews and interactions with parents and children informed the development of the strategies based on their reported needs and wants. Understanding the real and perceived barriers and facilitators permitted creating a valuable exchange by positioning healthy diet and physical activity as achievable behaviors for all and make life better (performance at school, better able to play hard, feel better, can be fun, easy, and affordable). It also informed the decisions to promote local, affordable activities and products in manner that was appropriate for participants.

Parents were segmented according to their gender, which behavior was more difficult; diet or physical activity, number and gender of children, and child’s most difficult behavior. Children were segmented based on their gender and grade at school. Content was tailored to all participants and informed by the Theory of Planned Behavior. Content was provided to parents using a website, SMS, e-mail and by printed letters to children.

Families expressed a high interest in FAN. In the first edition, 556 families with 750 children enrolled; more than double what was expected. By the end of the intervention parents reported changes in their behaviors related to physical activity and nutrition. They increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and moderately increased physical activity. Children’s Fruit consumption increased, consumption of sweets decreased, and vegetable consumption increased for the children whose parents received SMS. Parents evaluated FAN as very positive and stated that FAN helped their families remember to eat healthy and be physically active.

Suggested resources to know more about FAN:

(Rangelov, Della Bella, Marques Vidal, & Suggs, 2018; Rangelov & Suggs, 2015; Suggs, Della Bella, & Marques-Vidal, 2016; Suggs, Rangelov, Rangel Garcia, & Aguirre Sanchez, 2013)

Rangelov, N., Della Bella, S., Marques Vidal, P., & Suggs, L. S. (2018). Does additional support provided through e-mail or SMS in a Web-based Social Marketing program improve children’s food consumption? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrition Journal.
Rangelov, N., & Suggs, L. S. (2015). Using Strategic Social Marketing to Promote Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviors to Parents and Children in Switzerland: The Development of FAN. Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing, 8, 27–50.
Suggs, L. S., Della Bella, S., & Marques-Vidal, P. (2016). Low adherence of Swiss children to national dietary guidelines. Preventive Medicine Reports, 3, 244–249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.03.004
Suggs, L. S., Rangelov, N., Rangel Garcia, M., & Aguirre Sanchez, L. (2013). FAN – Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione: Ticino Switzerland’s campaign for healthy weight. In G. Hastings & C. Domegan (Eds.), Social marketing, from tunes to symphonies. Routledge, UK.