How did the public respond to the 2015 expert consensus public health guidance statement on workplace sedentary behaviour? A qualitative analysis.
ABSTRACT: In June 2015, an expert consensus guidance statement was published recommending that office workers accumulate 2-4 h of standing and light activity daily and take regular breaks from prolonged sitting. This paper describes public responses to media coverage of the guidance, so as to understand public acceptability of the recommendations within the guidance, and perceptions of sitting and standing as health behaviours.UK news media websites that had reported on the sedentary workplace guidance statement, and permitted viewers to post comments responding to the story, were identified. 493 public comments, posted in a one-month period to one of six eligible news media websites, were thematically analysed.Three themes were extracted: (1) challenges to the credibility of the sedentary workplace guidance; (2) challenges to the credibility of public health; and (3) the guidance as a spur to knowledge exchange. Challenges were made to the novelty of the guidance, the credibility of its authors, the strength of its evidence base, and its applicability to UK workplaces. Public health was commonly mistrusted and viewed as a tool for controlling the public, to serve a paternalistic agenda set by a conspiracy of stakeholders with hidden non-health interests. Knowledge exchanges focused on correcting others' misinterpretations, raising awareness of historical or scientific context, debating current workplace health policies, and sharing experiences around sitting and standing.The guidance provoked exchanges of health-promoting ideas among some, thus demonstrating the potential for sitting reduction messages to be translated into everyday contexts by lay champions. However, findings also demonstrated confusion, misunderstanding and misapprehension among some respondents about the health value of sitting and standing. Predominantly unfavourable, mistrusting responses reveal significant hostility towards efforts to displace workplace sitting with standing, and towards public health science more broadly. Concerns about the credibility and purpose of public health testify to the importance of public engagement in public health guidance development.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To identify how parents judge the credibility of online health news stories with links to scientific research. DESIGN:This qualitative study interviewed parents who read online stories about e-cigarettes and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination published by top-tier US news organisations. Researchers asked participants to describe elements of a story that influenced their judgement about content credibility. Researchers analysed transcripts using inductive and deductive techniques. Deductive analysis drew on cognitive heuristics previously identified as being used by the public to judge online health information. Inductive analysis allowed the emergence of new heuristics, especially relating to health. SETTING:The US National Cancer Institute's Audience Research Lab in Maryland, in August-November 2018. PARTICIPANTS:Sixty-four parents with at least one child between the ages of 9 and 17 residing in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia participated. Researchers randomly assigned 31 parents to the HPV vaccination story and 33 to the e-cigarette story. RESULTS:Evidence of existing heuristics, including reputation, endorsement, consistency, self-confirmation, expectancy violation and persuasive intent emerged from the interviews, with participants deeming stories credible when mentioning physicians (reputation heuristic) and/or consistent with information provided by personal physicians (consistency heuristic). Participants also described making credibility judgements based on presence of statistics, links to scientific research and their general feelings about news media. In relation to presence of statistics and links, participants reported these elements increased the credibility of the news story, whereas their feelings about the news media decreased their credibility judgement. CONCLUSIONS:Parents used a constellation of heuristics to judge the credibility of online health news stories. Previously identified heuristics for online health information are also applicable in the context of health news stories. The findings have implications for initiatives in education, health communication and journalism directed towards increasing the public's engagement with health news and their credibility judgements.
Project description:Given the variation in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine coverage across Canada, and debate regarding delivery of HPV vaccines in Catholic schools, we studied online comments on Canadian news websites to understand public perceptions of HPV and HPV vaccine.We searched English- and French-language Canadian news websites for 2012 articles that contained the terms "HPV" or "human papillomavirus." Articles about HPV vaccinations that contained at least one comment were included. Two researchers independently coded comments, analyzing them for emerging themes.We identified 3073 comments from 1198 individuals in response to 71 news articles; 630 (52.6%) individuals expressed positive sentiments about HPV vaccination (2.5 comments/individual), 404 (33.7%) were negative (3.0 comments/individual), 34 (2.8%) were mixed (1.5 comments/individual) and 130 (10.8%) were neutral (1.6 comments/individual). Vaccine-supportive commenters believed the vaccine is safe and effective. Common themes in negative comments included concerns regarding HPV vaccine safety and efficacy, distrust of pharmaceutical companies and government, and belief that school-age children are too young for HPV vaccine. Many comments focused on whether the Catholic Church has the right to inform health policy for students, and discussion often evolved into debates regarding HPV and sexual behaviour. We noted that many individuals doubted the credibility of vaccine safety information.The majority of commenters do not appear to be against HPV vaccination, but public health messaging that focuses on both the vaccine's safety profile, and its use as a means to prevent cancer rather than sexually transmitted HPV infection may facilitate its acceptance.
Project description:Virtual reality (VR) technology provides an immersive environment that enables users to have modified experiences of reality. VR is increasingly used to manage patients with pain, disability, obesity, neurologic dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. However, public opinion regarding the use of VR in health care has not been explored. Understanding public opinion of VR is critical to ensuring effective implementation of this emerging technology.This study aimed to examine public opinion about health care VR using social listening, a method that allows for the exploration of unfiltered views of topics discussed on social media and online forums.In March 2016, NBC News produced a video depicting the use of VR for patient care. The video was repackaged by NowThis, a social media news website, and distributed on Facebook by Upworthy, a news aggregator, yielding 4.3 million views and 2401 comments. We used Microsoft Excel Power Query and ATLAS.ti software (version 7.5, Scientific Software Development) to analyze the comments using content analysis and categorized the comments around first-, second-, and third-order concepts. We determined self-identified gender from the user's Facebook page and performed sentiment analysis of the language to analyze whether the perception of VR differed by gender using a Pearson's chi-square test.Out of the 1614 analyzable comments, 1021 (63.26%) were attributed to female Facebook users, 572 (35.44%) to male users, and 21 (1.30%) to users of unknown gender. There were 1197 comments coded as expressing a positive perception about VR (74.16%), 251 coded as expressing a negative perception and/or concern (15.56%), and 560 coded as neutral (34.70%). Informants identified 20 use cases for VR in health care, including the use of VR for pain and stress reduction; bed-bound individuals; women during labor; and patients undergoing chemotherapy, dialysis, radiation, or imaging procedures. Negative comments expressed concerns about radiation, infection risk, motion sickness, and the ubiquity of and overall dependence on technology. There was a statistically significant association between the language valence of the Facebook post and the gender of the Facebook user; men were more likely to post negative perceptions about the use of VR for health care, whereas women were more likely to post positive perceptions (P<.001).Most informants expressed positive perceptions about the use of VR in a wide range of health care settings. However, many expressed concerns that should be acknowledged and addressed as health care VR continues to evolve. Our results provide guidance in determining where further research on the use of VR in patient care is needed, and offer a formal opportunity for public opinion to shape the VR research agenda.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Effective communication by public health agencies during a pandemic promotes the adoption of recommended health behaviours. However, more information is not always the solution. Rather, attention must be paid to how information is communicated. Our study examines the television news, which combines video and audio content. We analyse (1) the content of television news about the H1N1 pandemic and vaccination campaign in Alberta, Canada; (2) the extent to which television news content conveyed key public health agency messages; (3) the extent of discrepancies in audio versus visual content. METHODS:We searched for "swine flu" and "H1N1" in local English news broadcasts from the CTV online video archive. We coded the audio and visual content of 47 news clips during the peak period of coverage from April to November 2009 and identified discrepancies between audio and visual content. RESULTS:The dominant themes on CTV news were the vaccination rollout, vaccine shortages, long line-ups (queues) at vaccination clinics and defensive responses by public health officials. There were discrepancies in the priority groups identified by the provincial health agency (Alberta Health and Wellness) and television news coverage as well as discrepancies between audio and visual content of news clips. Public health officials were presented in official settings rather than as public health practitioners. CONCLUSION:The news footage did not match the main public health messages about risk levels and priority groups. Public health agencies lost control of their message as the media focused on failures in the rollout of the vaccination campaign. Spokespeople can enhance their local credibility by emphasizing their role as public health practitioners. Public health agencies need to learn from the H1N1 pandemic so that future television communications do not add to public confusion, demonstrate bureaucratic ineffectiveness and contribute to low vaccination rates.
Project description:PURPOSE:The purpose of this study was to gain insight into public awareness of intimate partner violence (IPV) in late life by how individuals respond to incidents of IPV reported in the newspaper. DESIGN AND METHODS:Using grounded theory techniques, online news items covering 24 incidents of IPV in late life, and the reader comments posted to them were analyzed. The news items were examined for incident details, story framing, and reporting style. An open coding process (Charmaz, K. . Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.) was used to generate a comprehensive understanding of themes and patterns in the comments posted by readers. RESULTS:Few posters indicated that incidents were episodes of IPV. As many posters struggled to make sense of incidents, they attempted to remove guilt from the perpetrator by assigning blame elsewhere. Comments were influenced by personal assumptions and perspectives about IPV, relationships, and old age; reporting style of the news items; and comments posted by other posters. IMPLICATIONS:Altering public views of IPV in late life requires raising awareness through education, reframing the ways in which information is presented, and placing greater emphasis on the context of the violence. By engaging interactive news media, reporters, participatory journalists, and policymakers can enhance public recognition and understanding of IPV in late life.
Project description:Effective interventions to influence workplace sitting are needed, as office-based workers demonstrate high levels of continued sitting, and sitting too much is associated with adverse health effects. Therefore, we developed a theory-driven, Web-based, interactive, computer-tailored intervention aimed at reducing and interrupting sitting at work.The objective of our study was to investigate the effects of this intervention on objectively measured sitting time, standing time, and breaks from sitting, as well as self-reported context-specific sitting among Flemish employees in a field-based approach.Employees (n=213) participated in a 3-group randomized controlled trial that assessed outcomes at baseline, 1-month follow-up, and 3-month follow-up through self-reports. A subsample (n=122) were willing to wear an activity monitor (activPAL) from Monday to Friday. The tailored group received an automated Web-based, computer-tailored intervention including personalized feedback and tips on how to reduce or interrupt workplace sitting. The generic group received an automated Web-based generic advice with tips. The control group was a wait-list control condition, initially receiving no intervention. Intervention effects were tested with repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance.The tailored intervention was successful in decreasing self-reported total workday sitting (time × group: P<.001), sitting at work (time × group: P<.001), and leisure time sitting (time × group: P=.03), and in increasing objectively measured breaks at work (time × group: P=.07); this was not the case in the other conditions. The changes in self-reported total nonworkday sitting, sitting during transport, television viewing, and personal computer use, objectively measured total sitting time, and sitting and standing time at work did not differ between conditions.Our results point out the significance of computer tailoring for sedentary behavior and its potential use in public health promotion, as the effects of the tailored condition were superior to the generic and control conditions.Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02672215; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02672215 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6glPFBLWv).
Project description:Office workers spend most of their working day sitting, and prolonged sitting has been associated with increased risk of poor health. Standing in meetings has been proposed as a strategy by which to reduce workplace sitting but little is known about the standing experience. This study documented workers' experiences of standing in normally seated meetings. Twenty-five participants (18+ years), recruited from three UK universities, volunteered to stand in 3 separate, seated meetings that they were already scheduled to attend. They were instructed to stand when and for however long they deemed appropriate, and gave semi-structured interviews after each meeting. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using Framework Analysis. Four themes, central to the experience of standing in meetings, were extracted: physical challenges to standing; implications of standing for meeting engagement; standing as norm violation; and standing as appropriation of power. Participants typically experienced some physical discomfort from prolonged standing, apparently due to choosing to stand for as long as possible, and noted practical difficulties of fully engaging in meetings while standing. Many participants experienced marked psychological discomfort due to concern at being seen to be violating a strong perceived sitting norm. While standing when leading the meeting was felt to confer a sense of power and control, when not leading the meeting participants felt uncomfortable at being misperceived to be challenging the authority of other attendees. These findings reveal important barriers to standing in normally-seated meetings, and suggest strategies for acclimatising to standing during meetings. Physical discomfort might be offset by building standing time slowly and incorporating more sit-stand transitions. Psychological discomfort may be lessened by notifying other attendees about intentions to stand. Organisational buy-in to promotional strategies for standing may be required to dispel perceptions of sitting norms, and to progress a wider workplace health and wellbeing agenda.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Society always has limited resources to expend on health care, or anything else. What are the unmet medical needs? How do we allocate limited resources to maximize the health and welfare of the people? These challenging questions might be re-examined systematically within an infodemiological frame on a much larger scale, leveraging the latest advancement in information technology and data science. OBJECTIVE:We expanded our previous work by investigating news media data to reveal the coverage of different diseases and medical conditions, together with their sentiments and topics in news articles over three decades. We were motivated to do so since news media plays a significant role in politics and affects the public policy making. METHODS:We analyzed over 3.5 million archive news articles from Reuters media during the periods of 1996/1997, 2008 and 2016, using summary statistics, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling. Summary statistics illustrated the coverage of various diseases and medical conditions during the last 3 decades. Sentiment analysis and topic modeling helped us automatically detect the sentiments of news articles (ie, positive versus negative) and topics (ie, a series of keywords) associated with each disease over time. RESULTS:The percentages of news articles mentioning diseases and medical conditions were 0.44%, 0.57% and 0.81% in the three time periods, suggesting that news media or the public has gradually increased its interests in medicine since 1996. Certain diseases such as other malignant neoplasm (34%), other infectious diseases (20%), and influenza (11%) represented the most covered diseases. Two hundred and twenty-six diseases and medical conditions (97.8%) were found to have neutral or negative sentiments in the news articles. Using topic modeling, we identified meaningful topics on these diseases and medical conditions. For instance, the smoking theme appeared in the news articles on other malignant neoplasm only during 1996/1997. The topic phrases HIV and Zika virus were linked to other infectious diseases during 1996/1997 and 2016, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:The multi-dimensional analysis of news media data allows the discovery of focus, sentiments and topics of news media in terms of diseases and medical conditions. These infodemiological discoveries could shed light on unmet medical needs and research priorities for future and provide guidance for the decision making in public policy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The exposure and consumption of information during epidemic outbreaks may alter people's risk perception and trigger behavioral changes, which can ultimately affect the evolution of the disease. It is thus of utmost importance to map the dissemination of information by mainstream media outlets and the public response to this information. However, our understanding of this exposure-response dynamic during the COVID-19 pandemic is still limited. OBJECTIVE:The goal of this study is to characterize the media coverage and collective internet response to the COVID-19 pandemic in four countries: Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. METHODS:We collected a heterogeneous data set including 227,768 web-based news articles and 13,448 YouTube videos published by mainstream media outlets, 107,898 user posts and 3,829,309 comments on the social media platform Reddit, and 278,456,892 views of COVID-19-related Wikipedia pages. To analyze the relationship between media coverage, epidemic progression, and users' collective web-based response, we considered a linear regression model that predicts the public response for each country given the amount of news exposure. We also applied topic modelling to the data set using nonnegative matrix factorization. RESULTS:Our results show that public attention, quantified as user activity on Reddit and active searches on Wikipedia pages, is mainly driven by media coverage; meanwhile, this activity declines rapidly while news exposure and COVID-19 incidence remain high. Furthermore, using an unsupervised, dynamic topic modeling approach, we show that while the levels of attention dedicated to different topics by media outlets and internet users are in good accordance, interesting deviations emerge in their temporal patterns. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, our findings offer an additional key to interpret public perception and response to the current global health emergency and raise questions about the effects of attention saturation on people's collective awareness and risk perception and thus on their tendencies toward behavioral change.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Singapore is among the several countries affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak has elicited panic and unease among Singapore's public. This study aimed to analyze the comments left on local media news outlets to find common concerns and discuss potential new measures that can be developed to reduce panic and support for Singapore's public during and beyond COVID-19. METHODS:A qualitative content analysis on the comments on relevant news articles from the Facebook pages of six online local news publications dated from 23 January 2020 to the 3 April 2020 was carried out. RESULTS:Five common themes were derived 1: fear and concern (35.42%), 2 panic buying and hoarding (21.21%), 3 reality and expectations about the situation (20.24%), 4 staying positive amid the 'storm' (10.07%) and 5 worries about the future (5.01%). The analysis revealed that fear and concern were the main reasons behind the public's responses. CONCLUSION:Clear communication between the government and the public is one of the best ways to maintain calm among the public and to contribute to greater social cooperation. Timely updates and support measures from the government further help to maintain social peace and cohesion.