Sick of mixed messages in health communication?

It’s all good and well talking about health when you’re well, but once you’re sick forget talking, it’s way too late for that.

As a chia eating, smoothie drinking, yoga going person it was difficult to be taken down with a random flu-like bug last week. And, as any good smoothie lover knows, frozen berries go superbly with any combination of coconut milk goodness.

Exhausted and feeling les miserables, this berry eater also felt it necessary to rule out Hep A as well as everything else that could have caused my downfall.

Eighteen people so far have been affected by the frozen berries contamination and thankfully my tests came back negative, for now.

Mixed messages

Often the decisions about our health, food security and regulation are at arms length and behind closed doors, which leaves the everyman (or woman) confused and overwhelmed by so many mixed messages.

We’re bombarded with posters, billboards and banners challenging us to eat right, consume less sugar, avoid carbs, try paleo and many more.

The inactive era

In reality, we as a society we are moving less.

In an article in the New Philosopher’s latest health issue, Tim Olds writes in his article ‘An epidemic of inactivity’ discussing the change in eating habits amongst children and applies evidence to dispel common myths about the how kids (and adults got fat) and also .

Although food consumption has changed over time and we used to eat stodgier food in the 1940s, the real worry is the decline of activity.

Behaviour change is complicated.

Patterns found in adulthood are formed early and one’s environment, cultural background and socioeconomic all play their part.

Branded heroes

Although not a die-hard cricket fan, a few articles about sports advertising sparked my interest. With lots of clients from the health and aged care sector, an alarming statistic rang loudly.

“Almost all of the branding was that of major sponsor KFC, which accounted for 99.7 per cent of the total junk food promotions shown.”

This quote came from Kate Hagan, Health Reporter for Fairfax in Junk food ads saturate cricket.

In an era of inactivity, those families that do enjoy sports and watch cricket regularly are making associations between their heroes and the unhealthy food brand.

This type of blanket sponsorship seems awfully familiar.

Sporting clubs need money to survive and thrive. But, like tobacco in the 1980s, obesity is now a major contributor to preventative diseases and there are strong links to cancer.

Changing perceptions

While we cannot control every message, citizens and business and government leaders can draw a line in the sand and provide clearer guidance about what kind of society the next generation deserves to grown up in.

And, changing perceptions starts with raising awareness about the right messages.

Talk to us about creating meaningful health communication.