Starting Off on the Best Foot: A Review of Message Framing and Message Tailoring, and Recommendations for the Comprehensive Messaging Strategy for Sustained Behavior Change

Health Commun. 2018 Sep;33(9):1068-1077. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1331305. Epub 2017 Jun 16.


Health promotion programs represent a salient means through which physical activity promoters can cultivate positive health behavior change and maintenance. The messages communicated within these programs serve as an essential component as they are often used to convey valuable information, resources, or tools that facilitate health behavior initiation and sustained engagement. Identifying the most effective way to communicate health promotion information is, therefore, of considerable importance to ensuring that people not only attend to these messages, but also connect with and internalize the information conveyed within them. This paper was written to (1) summarize and evaluate the most prominent reviewed research approaches of message framing and tailoring to message design; and (2) offer a comprehensive messaging strategy to promote sustained health behavior change. A review of the literature demonstrated that a messaging strategy that has consistently led to healthy behavior change has yet to be identified. Furthermore, scholars have articulated that a multi-theoretical approach that places emphasis on facilitating motivation and healthy behavior change needs to be employed. Thus, this paper proposes and provides recommendations for employing the Comprehensive Messaging Strategy for Sustained Behavior Change (CMSSBC), which advocates tailoring messages to peoples' stage of change and framing them to focus on self-determined motives and intrinsic goals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Risk