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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS - 22/1/09

Media trust boosts health

Thursday January 22nd, 2009

The mass media can help improve general health, researchers claimed today.

A study of 29 Asian countries has concluded that people who "trust" the media tend to be healthier.

The Japanese researchers collected replies from some 39,000 people for their study, reported in the journal BMC Medicine.

They found that people who reported being most healthy were young, married, wealthy and well-educated women - with plenty of faith in relationships, the healthcare system and the mass media.

They found the greatest cynicism was found in Hong Kong and the highest level of trust in the mass media was in the Maldives.

Just over half of those who replied said they had some degree of trust in the media.

Researcher Yasuharu Tokuda, of St Luke's International Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, said: "One potential pathway from high trust in mass media to better health is increased acceptance of health-related messages and the resultant dissemination of good behaviour related to health throughout communities."

He added: "Our findings suggest that mass media programs can contribute towards better health, especially among those people who have trust in mass media. The media need to recognise the importance of their important social role in terms of public health."

The Relationship between Trust in Mass Media and the Healthcare System and Individual Health: Evidence from the AsiaBarometer Survey; Yasuharu Tokuda, Seiji Fujii, Masamine Jimba and Takashi Inoguchi; BMC Medicine

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Tags: Asia | General Health | World Health

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