PUBLIC SECT0R: Heart disease campaign for Barkers

The Countryside Agency and British Health Foundation are to launch

a fresh PR push in their joint healthy living campaign, called Walking

the Way to Health.



The second phase of the initiative, which started last year, will be

launched in Spring 2002 in a further attempt to stamp out heart disease

by encouraging those in urban areas and leading a sedentary life to walk

more.



Birmingham-based agency Barkers PR has been handed the UK-wide media

promotions brief for this latest PR push, called the Step-o-meter

campaign.



The Midlands and the north of England are highlighted by BHF research as

regions of particular concern in terms of heart disease.



Barkers was appointed after a four-way pitch and will be responsible for

all launch PR, as well as overseeing the distribution of 50,000

hand-held electronic step-o-meters to the public via the national and

regional press.



'By using the step-o-meters, they will be able to measure just how far

they walk in daily life,' said Barkers MD Dianne Page.



The walks are planned for local routes such as along canal paths and

nearby countryside.



'We have a dotted line relationship with the in-house PR teams at the CA

and BHF, but we shall, in the main, be working on our own initiative,'

Page added.



Page, who leads a three-strong team, reports to CA project officer Mitch

Counsel.



'Though a national campaign, the Midlands and northern England will see

a more intense PR campaign as statistics show heart disease is more

prevalent in these areas,' said Counsel.



'Step-o-meters are presently viewed as scientific instruments and not

aids to a better health and lifestyle. Barkers' job will be to give

these instruments street cred and help raise public motivation,' he

added.



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