Media: Quality of Health Information

Whether in print, broadcast, outdoor, or digital media, mass-mediated messages are an integral part of health education and promotion. For instance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have produced a series of public service announcements (PSAs) that encourage individuals to quit smoking by featuring real people telling their stories of smoking-related illnesses. Health education/promotion specialists intend for these messages to promote the individual cognitive, affective, and behavioral changes that will lead to better health.

Perhaps more pervasive are mass-mediated health images not overtly couched as health promotion efforts—that is, popular media. Journalists report on the latest health scare, advertising is permeated with sales pitches for both prescription and over-the-counter medications, and characters experiencing illness are a mainstay of television and film plotlines. While ...

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