Source: The Herlad Sun, 23 July, 1997, p.15


Healthy living ads hit home

 

 
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.


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