The United Health Foundation’s (UHF) annual America’s Health Rankings report, an assessment of the healthiest and least healthy states based on 22 health measures, celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2009. AHR cited smoking as the greatest health challenge of the past 20 years and predicted obesity as the next health battle unless current behaviors change. Fleishman-Hillard (FH), in partnership with Partnership for Prevention (P4P) and the American Public Health Association (APHA), was charged with announcing the findings of the 20th Anniversary report and empowering individuals, employers and stakeholders (community leaders, elected officials, public health/healthcare professionals) to take measurable action to improve our nation’s health.

America’s Health Rankings estimated obesity is growing faster than any previous chronic health issue the nation has faced, and more than one in four Americans are considered obese, an
increase of 130 percent in 20 years. America now spends $80 billion in direct healthcare costs associated with obesity.
Based on this information, obesity was identified as the biggest health threat facing the nation.
To make this information relevant on a local level, FH commissioned research to supplement America’s Health Rankings that predicted expected obesity spending per state. The report entitled “Future Costs of Obesity” found if left unchecked, obesity will add nearly $344 billion to the nation’s annual health care costs by 2018. The highest states were projected to face an estimated $3.2 billion rise in healthcare costs and the lowest states, $1.8 billion.
America’s Health Rankings found applying lessons learned from the fight against tobacco could be the best way to prevent unhealthy behaviors leading to obesity. The good news is with focused attention, change is possible. Over the past year, more than 3 million people have quit smoking, suggesting that interventions such as smoke-free laws, smoking bans, increased cigarette taxes, and access to smoking cessation programs have a positive impact.
Drawing on this information, FH in partnership with P4P and APHA, provided individuals, employers and stakeholders with the information and resources to take action to improve our nation’s health, with a focus on preventing obesity.
An integrated communications campaign with a budget of $600,000 helped launch America’s Health Rankings and included the following core elements:
·   Never-before-shared predictions of the expected economic impact on national healthcare spending attributable to obesity
·   Traditional and digital media vehicles to reach new audiences and encourage involvement in changing unhealthy behaviors
·   Resources targeted toward employers and stakeholders
·   Accessible online resources, tips and tools to help everyone — from individuals to elected officials — make a difference now
FH, P4P and APHA executed this integrated campaign aligned with the following goals and strategic approach.
GOAL #1: Meet or exceed 218M media impressions garnered in 2008
·   Commissioned never-before-shared predictions of expected economic impact on national healthcare spending of obesity
·      Created press release and fact sheets highlighting 20-year data and obesity study
·      Conducted Satellite Media Tour (SMT), Radio Media Tour (RMT) and Audio News Release (ANR) to share “Future Costs of Obesity” state-by-state predictions
·      Developed Obesity Cost Calculator on to highlight national and state-specific costs of obesity
·      Developed and distributed customizable template press release, Web site content and talking points to State Health Officers
·   Customized AHR data to highlight health disparities among Hispanics and African Americans
·      Utilized Hispanic and African American physician spokespeople to conduct additional radio, TV and print interviews
GOAL #2: Engage all audiences (individuals, employers and stakeholders) in two-way dialogue
·   Developed digital media vehicles to reach new audiences
·      Created searchable database (e-Rankings) and States-at-a-Glance interactive map on to view how each state and the nation ranked
·      Created branded Facebook, Wikipedia pages and Twitter account to interact with individuals and drive engagement
·      Conducted outreach to key bloggers, online reporters and communities to drive conversation and dialogue
GOAL #3: Increase direct participation of  employers and stakeholders from 150 in 2008
·   Leveraged partnerships with APHA and P4P to secure high-level engagement of health stakeholders and employers
·      Hosted in-person event on Capitol Hill to engage Congressional Members and Staff in dialogue around issues facing our nation’s health
·      Conducted two webinars directed specifically at employers and stakeholders to provide a preview of data and Q&A
GOAL #4: Provide accessible resources for all audiences (individuals, employers, and stakeholders) to bring the message home
·   Researched and cataloged a database of proven actions to combat unhealthy behaviors
·      Created the Healthy Actions Resource Center on, to provide tips, tools and programs from proven experts targeted towards individuals, employers and stakeholders
GOAL #1: Meet or exceed 218M media impressions garnered in 2008
·   2009 campaign garnered more than 290M media impressions, a 13 percent increase from 2008
·   More than 1,800 media stories appeared in outlets throughout the country, including coverage by USA Today, CNN Headline News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News, and Associated Press
·   SMT/RMT secured approximately 5.4 million media impressions, with 50 TV and 30 radio interviews all in the top 50 markets
GOAL #2: Engage all audiences (individuals, employers and stakeholders) in two-way dialogue
·   Social media generated more than 200,000 impressions and 270 direct consumer engagements
·   Of the 200 Facebook/Twitter fans and followers, 56 percent were public health stakeholders; 25 percent were general consumers; and 19 percent were a mixture of media and UHF-related individuals
GOAL #3: Increase direct participation of employers and stakeholders from 150 in 2008
·   More than 277 employers and stakeholders reached, an 185% percent increase from 2008:
·      More than 100 Congressional Members and Staff attended Capitol Hill Briefing
·      45 local, state, and national public health officials joined the Stakeholder Webinar, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Heart Association, and the Department of Health and Human Services
·      Employer Webinar engaged 122 key decision makers from companies including Proctor&Gamble, ConocoPhillips, Wells Fargo and Verizon Wireless
GOAL #4: Provide accessible resources for all audiences (individuals, employers and stakeholders) to bring the message home
·   Healthy Action Resource center on featured over 150 different tips, tools and programs offered by proven experts and generated approximately 12,000 visitors during AHR Launch Week