Promoting Healthy Diets And Active Lives To Hard-To-Reach Groups: Market Research Study
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Promoting Healthy Diets And Active Lives To Hard-To-Reach Groups: Market Research Study

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    Public Health Rep
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    Continued progress over the next decade in reducing premature morbidity and mortality from chronic disease will require that health communication efforts target a significant proportion of the American public that has not been influenced by the health promotion efforts of the 1980s. Focus groups conducted with members of the hard-to-reach American public showed that while being healthy seemed to be important to participants, and they were generally aware of what to do to stay healthy, they had a different operational definition of health than that used in health promotion programs. Participants seemed to believe that better health behaviors would build their resistance to acute illnesses, that is, keep them healthy, but that chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, were due to fate and heredity and beyond their individual control. The focus group results show that participants had not made the link between chronic disease prevention and the importance of diet, exercise, and weight control. Although most of them seemed to express a genuine interest in "doing better," they were not able to supply more than superficial examples of how such changes might be made. Surprisingly, there were more similarities than differences in participants' attitudes and beliefs, with the similarities cutting across boundaries of race-ethnicity, age, and sex. Interest in changing behaviors was only slightly more pronounced among female rather than male, and older rather than younger, participants. However, there was not much evidence from the participants that they were actively seeking health information or trying to reconcile conflicting knowledge and beliefs.
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