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The Influence of Print Media on their Readers' Understanding of the Benefits of Moderate Drinking&#8

The Influence of Print Media on their Readers' Understanding of the Benefits of Moderate Drinking&#8

  1. Salvinorin A
    Thomas Stuttaford
    Annals of Epidemiology 2007;17:S108–S109

    Abstract

    Journalism reflects and reinforces popular opinion. It is from the circulation that the owner's dividends and the journalists' salaries are derived, and journalists are constantly reminded of this. Altering public opinion on health-related issues occurs through numerous interactions. Survey data suggest that the most effective mechanism for changing individual perceptions on health is through communication between patients and their primary care physician; the second most successful means for influencing individuals is through the print media. Moreover, the media provide the public with information on available solutions for minimizing the risks of health hazards. It is, therefore, a major responsibility of print media to keep people informed on various health issues.
    There are obstacles in producing the correct message to provide the public regarding alcohol, as there are both health risks and benefits. Although a quantifiable measure cannot be used to define moderate drinking for all—as recommendations vary by sex, age, race, and other factors—print media should contribute to the education of the public on the benefits and harms of moderate consumption. This will require nonhomogeneous messages for the public and greater efforts by editors to increase the availability of health-related stories in the press.