FutureLearn offers online course to promote healthy behaviour

The Monday Campaigns was co-developed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, launching in 2003

Online social learning platform, FutureLearn, is offering a new course educating practitioners in the Monday Campaigns, a not-for-profit initiative encouraging individuals and organisations to commit to healthy behaviours and thus reduce incidences of preventable diseases. The online course has been developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Monday Campaigns offers free, evidence-based health promotion resources aiming to provide the sustainable motivation that can lead to life-long changes in behaviour. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that people view Monday as a fresh start and, consequently, are more likely to engage in healthy behaviours then than on any other day. Also, those that start the week healthily are more likely to maintain the behaviour throughout the week.

The campaign – which has dubbed Monday as “the day all health breaks loose” – fosters the spread of the concept by providing creative materials, case studies and ready-to-scale programs harnessing the best practices of marketing and promotion.

While the campaign was born in America, the lessons have universal applications

Each week on the course, a different Monday campaign will be profiled with a corresponding case study from a community-based partner. Initiatives include Meatless Monday, a practice that encourages consumers to reduce their meat consumption every week; Move it Monday, which offers simple workouts, tips and inspiration; De-Stress Monday, including yoga, deep breathing, mindfulness and positive affirmations; and Quit and Stay Quit Monday, which promotes smoking cessation using a periodic Monday cue.

The Monday Campaigns was founded by Sid Lerner, a former advertising executive, in association with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities. The first initiative, Meatless Monday, was launched in 2003 and has since been adopted by a range of participants – from grassroots advocates and chefs to large food companies — in over 40 countries across the globe.

Mark Lester, MD of universities and educational partnerships at FutureLearn, said: “While the campaign was born in America, the lessons have universal applications. By the end of the course, student participants will be able to articulate the importance of community-based health campaigns and [be able to] to create campaigns that address their own community-level health challenges. It’s a very important mission and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

The Monday Campaigns: Lessons in Public Health Promotion is open for enrolment now and begins on February 11.