This is an update to an earlier blog post addressing the rise of media interest around the topic of physical activity and children. There’s quite a battle underway across the athletic apparel brands for thought leadership on issues surrounding children and obesity/health. The obvious sub-text is obvious – keep the focus on physical activity as much as possible (versus the historic focus on nutrition…which by the way we also track).

Here’s how the trend itself is developing (see chart below).  After nearly 18 months of increasing media attention, the trend took its single biggest hit this month, decreasing -13 points over the prior month, also down -7% over the same period in the prior year.  I include the later metric to help control for seasonality which can be quite prevalent in athletic apparel media coverage.    Current TrendSignal for this trend is 69 points (with a trailing 12-month average of 74 points).

Our August report will be out shortly which should help shed some light on whether this decrease is part of a sustainable media decline  or some leveling of coverage of this trend over the prior 3 months.

Children and Physical Activity

Obviously both nutrition and physical activity play supporting roles in the health of children, but if you sell athletic apparel, you’re programs lean in one particular direction.

But how about the brands?

Nike has a long running program that aims to raise awareness of the affects of physical activity (or the lack of it) on the overall health and well-being of teens and children.  Adidas, through its Reebok brand, has teamed with the grassroots Bokskids.org to accomplish a similar goal – get kids moving to help both body and mind.

Here are the current media metrics on Nike, Adidas, Lululemon and Reebok for the current media period.  Nike is clearly in the lead at 92 points, up +1 point over the prior period.  Adidas is close on Nike’s heals at 88 points.  And Lululemon is still riding its negative press spike (do we all remember those transparent yoyo pants tights?) at 74 points, up a significant +11 points on the prior month!

Even Lululemon Athletica is allocating resources in this trending area through its Metta Movement initiative, a grassroots community philanthropy program that supports numerous sustainability efforts along with allocating money and resources to bring yoga instruction to teens and children.

These programs are perfect brand philanthropy efforts.  They address a common societal need while simultaneously supporting brand and product marketing objectives.

One of the primary goals in these  programs is to reduce the level of obesity in the child demographic.  We’ve been tracking obesity both as a broad issue within our Disease and Condition Category, but also with a specific focus on Children and Obesity.   I’ve included a short media prominence view of these two trends below.

Understanding how these trends ebb and flow, and how media momentum builds and subsides over time is dependent upon knowing how other storylines are developing in the media.  Our category dashboard views and related PDF reports illustrate how other topics, trends and brands move in and out of the global editorial agenda from month-to-month.

I’d recommend two specific reports that illustrate the current media position and trajectory of these and other trends affecting teens and children:

To see how these storylines and topics affect actual brands, a quick read through our brand reports shows the current media position of major brands across 20+ brand categories.  As always, the data underlying these reports is also available through new interactive web dashboards.

There’s a free trial to all dashboards and reports, so I encourage you to explore our data and kick the trend, brand and influencer metric tires as much as possible.  Our August data fresh will be out shortly, but you can get a current media view of all brand and trend activity through our PDF and dashboard metrics.

Paul