In September 2010, CNN teamed up with the social network Foursquare to launch a “Healthy Eater” badge that Foursquare members could get by visiting any two participating local farmers’ markets. Kudos to CNN and Foursquare for using their platforms to take on social causes, for finding innovative ways to encourage people to eat right, and for trying to make eating healthy cool and fun.
In the first week of the three-week campaign in the U.S. (that coincided with a week of CNN programming on healthy eating called “Eatocracy: Mind, Body and Wallet”), more than 10,000 people looked at the array of healthy foods and fresh produce in their local markets. After checking in from two markets, members earned the badge, which they could show to participating vendors for discounts. Any extra incentive like the CNN Healthy Eater badge to get people to eat healthy foods is a great thing in our book, and we look forward to hearing more about campaigns like this.
This is a great example of the trend in which social networks like Foursquare have been evolving, and making forays into “real life” in new and interesting ways.
One of the biggest battles in the fight against non-communicable diseases like diabetes could be won or lost at the dinner table, and this campaign is an exciting attempt to encourage behavior change. A good diet is essential to good health, of course, but we all know that bad habits are hard to break. Campaigns like this one reach out to people – and particularly young people – on familiar ground. Social networks are using modest, familiar incentives to encourage small, meaningful acts. This, we believe, is a great way to forge good habits.
We love to spotlight great initiatives that are effective in the real world and help people develop healthy eating habits. Tell us!