VERB: CDC Youth Campaign
Comprising online games and interactives, blogs, educational materials, and other activities, this multicultural social marketing campaign to increase physical activity among youth is called VERB: It's what you do. Curricular materials for educators and interactive multimedia content directed at youth combine to engage and motivate tweens (ages 9 to 13), encouraging healthy lifestyles and participation in physical activity. VERB was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health/Wellness, Multimedia/Digital Literacy
Language Arts, Spanish, Art/Drama/Music, Multicultural Understanding, ESL, Parent & Community,
Grades/Ages: Ages 9–13
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Publication Date: 2002–2006
The VERBnow Web site provides a creative model for leveraging multimedia content to promote physical activity. Designed for young people to use directly, VERBnow features games, interactives, and opportunities for dramatic play in a virtual world. For example, users can create their own character, called a "ViRT," and see them in action, playing online games that are intended to inspire young people to go try the sports and other activities for themselves. Another feature, the Game Generator, makes up games that young people can play, combining three random elements (such as kickball, jump rope, and beach). The Playground section of the site invites users to write their own story using Playlibs, and in the Greatest Blogs link, they can read what other young people wrote about playing VERB yellowball. All of this multimedia content is one component of the entire package of VERB curriculum and materials designed to work together in concert to increase physical activity among youth.
- Activity Types: self-directed online games and interactives, hands-on learning, collaboration
- Materials/technology required: Computer with Internet access, Flash/media player software
- Program Length/Duration: Varies from a single to multiple sessions. It's a cross-disciplinary resource that can easily be incorporated into programs.
- Site Adoption: Thousands of schools, youth-serving organizations, and communities have implemented VERB activities over the past several years.
- Special considerations: The CDC campaign ended in 2006, but the materials and multimedia content continue to be available online.
The VERB campaign offers a large collection of resources to educators, families, and communities, including tip sheets, a curriculum package, marketing materials, and research publications. The activity ideas are varied and easily implemented in informal settings like afterschool. The tip sheets also suggest ways to integrate the VERBnow multimedia content. Designed to be culturally relevant, the educational approach and materials cultivate youth engagement and creativity, and encourage participants to draw on community resources.
Consideration of Special Student Populations
The CDC research shows that the VERB materials have been very effective in ESL classrooms. To facilitate use of these materials by culturally diverse groups including English language learners, many of the brochures and guides, especially those for parents, are available in versions for different audiences (e.g., for American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian) and in different languages.