Background Media play a growing role in providing health information to the public. They can affect people’s lifestyle, especially in the field of nutrition. General Practitioners (GPs), beyond receiving information from specialized sources, are themselves lay media users. So complex interactions arise between GP’s knowledge, the flow of information they receive and their behaviour.

Objectives To assess the use by GPs of different sources regarding nutrition information and its effect on their interaction with patients.

Methods Mail survey carried out among all GPs in the Molise region. Questionnaires evaluated attitude in communicating nutrition and health issues (9 questions) and frequency in receiving information in this field from different sources (37). Validation has been obtained by administering similar questionnaires to two more groups: nurses and nurse students. Data were analyzed with SAS 8.02.

Results Out of 289 questionnaires sent to GPs, 107 (37%) were returned. Frequency with which GPs receive information from media have been classified with three categories: low, medium and high. Behaviour in counselling patients has been scored as: weak, moderate and strong. Analysis demonstrated significant positive association between GPs’ attitude and use of certain types of media: scientific journals, both italian (p=0.004) and international (p<0.0001), books (p=0.02), scientific societies (p=0.04), food and pharmaceutical companies (p=0.01), medical journals (p<0.001), and direct contacts with pharmaceutical companies representatives (p=0.004). No association resulted for information from Italian Health System or European Union Institutions. Same for lay media, with the exception of a negative one for TV news (p=0.025).

Conclusions Lack of influence of lay media on GPs’, or negative association for TV news, indicates a critical attitude, while some professional and scientific channels do play a role in the behaviour of GPs toward their patients. We conclude that scientific and professional media represent the right channels to disseminate information on nutrition to GPs. Lack of impact of institutional information is an issue which warrants further consideration.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Nutrition and health
Information sources used by General Practitioners and nutrition guidance to patients
A pilot study in a small Italian region

Americo Bonanni   Catholic University of Campobasso

Francesca Lucia   Catholic University of Campobasso

Marialaura Bonaccio   Catholic University of Campobasso

Marco Olivieri   Catholic University of Campobasso

Maria Donati   Catholic University of Campobasso

Giovanni Gaetano – Catholic University of Campobasso

Background Media play a growing role in providing health information to the public. They can affect people’s lifestyle, especially in the field of nutrition. General Practitioners (GPs), beyond receiving information from specialized sources, are themselves lay media users. So complex interactions arise between GP’s knowledge, the flow of information they receive and their behaviour.

Objectives To assess the use by GPs of different sources regarding nutrition information and its effect on their interaction with patients.

Methods Mail survey carried out among all GPs in the Molise region. Questionnaires evaluated attitude in communicating nutrition and health issues (9 questions) and frequency in receiving information in this field from different sources (37). Validation has been obtained by administering similar questionnaires to two more groups: nurses and nurse students. Data were analyzed with SAS 8.02.

Results Out of 289 questionnaires sent to GPs, 107 (37%) were returned. Frequency with which GPs receive information from media have been classified with three categories: low, medium and high. Behaviour in counselling patients has been scored as: weak, moderate and strong. Analysis demonstrated significant positive association between GPs’ attitude and use of certain types of media: scientific journals, both italian (p=0.004) and international (p<0.0001), books (p=0.02), scientific societies (p=0.04), food and pharmaceutical companies (p=0.01), medical journals (p<0.001), and direct contacts with pharmaceutical companies representatives (p=0.004). No association resulted for information from Italian Health System or European Union Institutions. Same for lay media, with the exception of a negative one for TV news (p=0.025).

Conclusions Lack of influence of lay media on GPs’, or negative association for TV news, indicates a critical attitude, while some professional and scientific channels do play a role in the behaviour of GPs toward their patients. We conclude that scientific and professional media represent the right channels to disseminate information on nutrition to GPs. Lack of impact of institutional information is an issue which warrants further consideration.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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