Background and the Center’s Evolving Role
The Center has been integrally involved with the Meatless Monday campaign since its creation in 2003 as a product of several conversations between the Center's staff and advertising mastermind, Sid Lerner, about high-fat American diets and the increased risk of chronic, preventable diseases. National dietary recommendations in the Surgeon General's Healthy People report and by the American Heart Association suggested reducing consumption of saturated fat - found mainly in meat and animal products - by about 15 percent. Recognizing that 15 percent works out to one day of the week and remembering back to the Meatless Monday rationing strategy used during both world wars, Sid Lerner worked to revitalize Meatless Monday as a public health campaign with a creative grassroots marketing strategy. The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to refrain from eating meat one day a week as a way to improve not only individual health, but also the health of the planet by reducing the environmental burden associated with meat production.
Building upon the success of Meatless Monday and leveraging the unique cultural associations of Monday as a day for starting healthy behaviors, the Monday Campaigns organization was founded. Working with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and many other organizations across the country, the Monday Campaigns aims to help end preventable disease in the U.S. using the “Monday approach” of communicating health messages surrounding physical activity, stress reduction, smoking cessation, sexual health and nutrition. Based on two literature reviews conducted by the Center, using weekly periodic prompts and tapping into natural behavior patterns on Mondays (a day that people are more likely to go to the gym, start a diet, quit smoking, etc.) can help to improve health promotion strategies.
The Johns Hopkins Healthy Monday Project (2009 – 2012)
Building upon its work with the Meatless Monday campaign, the Center expanded its role to include technical assistance with Healthy Monday initiatives and implemented the Johns Hopkins Healthy Monday Project (JHHMP)between 2009 and 2012. Read More>>
The Center currently focuses on Meatless Monday-related activities, using our resource capacity and organizational focus on food system issues to bring scientific evidence and public health significance to this important initiative.