Health communication scholars and researchers are interested in the way the mass media portray health and health issues for a variety of reasons. Their interest is based in the belief that the information conveyed by these media impacts attitudes toward health and ultimately impacts health behavior. Consequently, scholars spend a good deal of time examining the various media channels to understand the kinds of messages to which people are exposed in their daily lives.

What scholars do know about health information is that patients want their health care providers to make brochures and other printed materials available to them—even after they have had a face-to-face meeting. While patients often turn to newspapers, magazines, books, and the Internet for health information, there is some evidence that use ...

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