Source: The Herlad Sun, 23 July, 1997, p.15
By HELEN CARTER, medical reporter MORE than five million Australians have changed their behavior because of public health messages, a survey shows. More than one-third of Melburnians - 39.2 per cent - and 24 per cent of rural Victorians say they have changed their health behavior as a result of the messages. The survey also revealed that almost 80 per cent of Australians believe shock tactics can bring about healthier lifestyles. The Australian Medical Association commissioned the poll, fearing people may be tuning out because of scare tactics. But the AMA's Dr Joe Kosterich was surprised to see the messages received overwhelming support and were working. "The public is interested in their health and responsive to messages we're sending them," Dr Rosterich said. The poll found 37.6 per cent of people surveyed had changed their behavior as a result of a message. Of those, 23.3 per cent had quit smoking. This meant more than one million Australians had quit due to health messages. And 17 per cent of those who had changed behavior were eating more healthily and exercising regularly, 15 per cent were safer drivers, 12 per cent were being sun smart, llper cent were more work-safe, 11 per cent did not drink and drive, 8 per cent practised safe sex arid 7 per cent had regular pap smears, mammograms, prostate or other health checks. Most of the 60 per cent who had not changed said the message was not relevant to them as they already behaved in the desired way. But 12 per cent had their own views, 10 per cent weren't interested and 2 per cent said it wouldn't happen to them. More than half believed straightforward information worked best to change behavior, 28.5 per cent thought fear or shock tactics worked best and 14 per cent said humor. The Roy Morgan Research poll, released yesterday during Family Doctor Week, questioned 534 people over 18 last month.
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Collection and Sampling
Main Index - Numeracy in the News