What are people like who respond to television offers of further information? The case of the Bodyshow series

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Abstract: In some Western populations television is the principal source of health information. Such dependence on the media for health information is cause for concern when the reliability of health information is considered, and media promotion of ‘unhealthy’ products such as tobacco, alcohol and confectionery. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation television series Bodyshow, broadcast over 17 weeks in mid‐1988, was the first general preventive health series screened on Australian television. This study aimed to assess the demographic profile of viewers of the Bodyshow series who responded to invitations for further information, the extent of exposure of these viewers to the series, and their perceptions of the series. The study involved a random sample survey of 500 people selected from 2080 New South Wales viewers who wrote to the ABC requesting further health information. A response rate of 79 per cent was achieved. Respondents were predominately female and married, aged 25 to 39 years, lived outside Sydney, and were well educated. Respondents had seen the majority of episodes and were overwhelmingly positive about the series. Popular aspects were the information provided, the ‘human interest’ segments and the nutrition information. Unpopular aspects were the Friday night time‐slot and the artificially glamorous ‘middle class’ presentation. The study demonstrated that there is clearly an audience for a self‐help preventive health television series. Television has considerable unrealised potential for education, particularly regarding nutrition. 1991 Public Health Association of Australia

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


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