Health Policy

The Answer Isn't Always a Poster: Using Social Marketing Principles and Concept Mapping With High School Students to Improve Participation in School Breakfast

Askelson, N.M.; Golembiewski, E.H.; DePriest, A.M.; O'Neill, P.; Delger, P.J.; Scheidel, C.A.


This article describes the formative research and development of a social marketing intervention to promote school breakfast in the U.S. state of Iowa. The project involved a collaborative effort between a university research team, a state department of education, and three high schools in the state over the course of the 2013–2014 school year. A participatory approach guided by Greene’s Theory of Active Involvement was used to engage directly with adolescent students. Specifically, the research team used concept mapping as a means of exploring perceived barriers, benefits, and motivators related to school breakfast participation. The results indicated a need for increased awareness about school breakfast in conjunction with guidance for food service directors in making changes to school breakfast and breakfast promotion. The findings directly related to price, promotion, product, and place. Students identified a channel and student-generated ideas informed Twitter and best practices guidebooks for school food service directors.