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Article

Strategies to Improve Health Communication: Can Health Professionals Be Heroes?

1
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food, Monash University, Notting Hill 3168, Australia
2
Monash Business School, Monash University, Caulfield East 3145, Australia
3
School of Media and Communications, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne 3004, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(6), 1861; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061861
Received: 21 May 2020 / Revised: 11 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 June 2020 / Published: 22 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eating Habits and Health among College and University Students)
Communicating evidence-based nutrition messages to the public is challenging and is often in conflict with popular opinions, particularly from social media influencers (SMIs). In order to increase engagement with nutrition professionals (NPs) on social media, we aimed to explore young adults’ perceptions of the authenticity and trustworthiness of SMIs and NPs Instagram posts. A cross-sectional questionnaire was administered to students (n = 149) from an Australian University. Participants viewed a real-life Instagram profile and one post from both a NP and a SMI. Main outcomes were post authenticity and trustworthiness, and emotional message appeals measured on five-point Likert scales. Regression models were developed to assess whose post (the NP or SMI) was perceived to be more authentic and trustworthy. Participants were young adults (median age (25th, 75th percentiles): 20 (19,21)), with approximately half identifying as female. A high heroic message appeal (+1SD above mean) significantly increased the perceived authenticity of the NPs post only (p = 0.01). Post authenticity enhanced post trustworthiness, but only when a heroic message appeal was used by the NP. When appropriate, NPs should convey positive emotions such as bravery and success to enhance the authenticity and trustworthiness of their posts. View Full-Text
Keywords: social media; social media influencers; nutrition professionals; trustworthiness; authenticity; emotional message appeals; university students; young adults social media; social media influencers; nutrition professionals; trustworthiness; authenticity; emotional message appeals; university students; young adults
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jenkins, E.L.; Ilicic, J.; Molenaar, A.; Chin, S.; McCaffrey, T.A. Strategies to Improve Health Communication: Can Health Professionals Be Heroes? Nutrients 2020, 12, 1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061861

AMA Style

Jenkins EL, Ilicic J, Molenaar A, Chin S, McCaffrey TA. Strategies to Improve Health Communication: Can Health Professionals Be Heroes? Nutrients. 2020; 12(6):1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061861

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jenkins, Eva L.; Ilicic, Jasmina; Molenaar, Annika; Chin, Shinyi; McCaffrey, Tracy A. 2020. "Strategies to Improve Health Communication: Can Health Professionals Be Heroes?" Nutrients 12, no. 6: 1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061861

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