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Television health promotion in four countries


Chew, Fiona & Palmer, Sushma (2005). Television health promotion in four countries. Nutrition, 21(5), 634-638.


The research plan was to conduct a comparative, longitudinal field experiment in Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland to evaluate the effect of a nutritional and general health promotion television series. The series addressed four health topics: a healthy diet, avoidance of tobacco use and alcohol abuse, and enhanced physical activity.

Because of different infrastructure and contingency conditions in the four countries, data collection ranged from group-administered surveys at a central location to individual personal interviews using a quasi-experiment comparing viewers and non-viewers 18 y and older. It occurred between 1996 and 1998.

Overall, the television programs were found to provide new, useful, and practical information to viewers. Most (53.4% to 64.0%) learned useful information. Nearly 33% or more (29.5% to 37.9%) intended to change their lifestyle, with about 25% or more (24.0% to 60.2%) of this group indicating that they would eat more fruits and vegetables. Subsequently, 16.7% to 45.0% reported actual dietary changes consistent with health promotion.

The study addressed diet and nutritional patterns in this region and the underlying social and behavioral factors, topics on which there is very limited information. Methodologic equivalence was sought through consistent measures despite the differential research infrastructure in the four countries. Results indicated that viewers rated the nutritional and general health promotion television programs favorably and that media messages can be used to motivate and educate viewers. More sustained television programs focused on health promotion will benefit audiences in Central and Eastern Europe.


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Chew, Fiona
Palmer, Sushma