To be effective at preventing negative outcomes, we must be prepared to broaden our focus. Programs and activities can be effective at influencing an individual’s behavior, but there often are “behind the scenes” areas that must be addressed to help support the behavior change.
The Spectrum of Prevention, developed by The Prevention Institute, helps illustrate the different levels that contribute to making a difference.
- Search the Data: Fairfax County Youth Survey
- Start a Prevention Program or Activity
- Develop a Public Awareness Campaign
- Get Involved: Policy, Systems and Environmental Change
- Connect With Others
- Find Sources for Funding Opportunities
The Prevention Spectrum in Practice
Well-developed programs are proven strategies for changing behavior and achieving healthy outcomes. As you consider taking action, also think about the different types of activities you could get involved in along the entire spectrum of prevention:
Take healthy eating as an example. Here are things you can do to influence change at every level of the spectrum.
- You can strengthen individual knowledge and skills by teaching a child how to choose healthy foods,
- but by promoting community education, you can also reach the child’s parents with a campaign designed to highlight the nutritional qualities of foods at the grocery store,
- which will be more effective if you educate providers such as store managers on understanding nutrition,
- who can take part in coalitions and networks of providers, experts, and other stakeholders to ensure a coordinated and well-informed approach,
- which can be possible when businesses and other groups change their organizational practices to stress the importance of healthy eating and community involvement,
- which sometimes becomes necessary when policy and legislation such as business incentives and labeling laws are enacted.