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Mass communication and health promotion: The power of the media and public opinion
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Languages.
1994 (English)In: Health Communication, ISSN 1041-0236, E-ISSN 1532-7027, Vol. 6, no 1, 21-36 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

By means of content analysis, this study evaluated the ways in which a community-based preventive program in Sweden in the field of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes was reported in the news by the Swedish mass media We were also interested in determining whether, and to what extent, 5 years of exposure to the media had affected the health habits of the residents in the intervention area. Thus, the views of the public were obtained via a cross-sectional posttest survey of all adults 16 to 80 years of age. Responses were obtained from 65% of the population. Data were interpreted within a framework of a three-dimensional power approach: control of issue resolution, control of information content, and emphasis and control of ideology. The health program has attracted much attention, and some of the contents have been commented on in depth (e.g., dietary habits, health examinations, and organizational issues). The authorities, including the health and medical staff, were the main actors on the media stage. The media coverage was largely restricted to middle-aged men, whereas women, children, young people, and pensioners were less salient in the news. The mass media were found to emphasize an individual standpoint concerning health habits, and when the "ordinary people" appeared it was as exemplary models in the spirit of the health program. The results indicated sex and social class differences among people recalling the media news. Men in manual occupations were the least affected by the media coverage of the health program.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1994. Vol. 6, no 1, 21-36 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-65963DOI: 10.1207/s15327027hc0601_2OAI: diva2:605473
Available from: 2013-02-14 Created: 2013-02-14 Last updated: 2013-03-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Community participation and social patterning in cardiovascular disease intervention
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Community participation and social patterning in cardiovascular disease intervention
1993 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study addresses health policy and public health in the field of cardiovascular disease (CVD) on the local level in Sweden. The overall aim is to contribute to the assessment of structural and social conditions within public health by analysing participation processes and outcome patterns in a local health programme. The northern Swedish MONICA study served as a reference area. The research strategy has been to integrate quantitative and  qualitative methodologies and, thereby, focus on different aspects of the health programme under study.

The mortality rate was excessive in the study area of Norsjö relative to both provincial and national figures over a period of more than 10 years. This finding formed the basis for a tenyear comprehensive and community-based health programme towards the prevention of CVD and diabetes.

Even in this seemingly homogeneous area it was found that socio-economic circumstances were associated with the public health. Almost half of the study population had hypercholesterolaemia (;>6.5 mmol/1), 19% of men and 25% of women were smokers and 30% and 29%, respectively, had high blood pressure. Age had a strong impact on all outcome measures. After adjustments for age and social factors it was found that the relative risk of having hypercholesterolaemia dropped significantly in both sexes during the six years of intervention. The probability of being a smoker was significantly reduced only in highly educated groups. No statistically significant change over time could be found for the risk of suffering high blood pressure. In the reference area of northern Sweden there were no changes over time for any of the selected risk factors. The likelihood of self-assessed good health decreased with increasing risk factor load, with the exception of hypercholesterolaemia , in all social strata.

The authorities, including the health and medical staff, were the main actors on the mediastage. Men in manual occupations were least affected by the media coverage. The actors and the public as well as the media viewed the health programme as orientated towards individual lifestyles. Community participation was mainly defined by the actors based on the medical and health planning approach. Differences in interpretations, social interests, personal conflicts and ideological constraints among the actors at local level were observed. Some critical attitudes towards the organization and management of the health programme were also noted among the citizens. However, a majority of the public wanted the health programme to continue. The present study underlines the importance of considering age, gender and social differences in the planning and evaluation of CVD preventive programmes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 1993. 49 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 383
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, prevention, social factors, evaluation, social epidemiology, folkhälsovetenskap
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Epidemiology; Public health
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-7544 (URN)91-7174-816-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
1993-11-19, Tandläkarhögskolan, Rosa salen, 9tr., Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2008-01-10 Created: 2008-01-10 Last updated: 2013-03-05Bibliographically approved

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Brännström, IngerLindblad, Inga-Britt
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