Optimising young adults’ engagement with health messages using social media: Study protocol

Published by communicatinghealth on

Presented at the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy conference 2017, Melbourne, Australia


Authors: Lombard, C, Brennan, L, Reid, M, Klassen, K, Palermo, C, Walker, T, Lim, M, Dean, M, McCaffrey, T.A. & Truby, H.


Obesity is global health problem. Weight gain happens rapidly during young adulthood. Social media provides an opportunity to engage with young adults to make healthy choices.

Study aims: 

1. To understand how young adults, especially Aboriginal young adults use social media and how they engage with health-related information.

2. To improve the effectiveness of strategies using social media to motivate, engage and retain young adults, especially Aboriginal young adults, in interventions to reduce the risk of obesity.

3. To identify and disseminate effective ways to deliver these interventions via social media for young adults, especially for Aboriginal young adults.

Methods: Communicating Health has 4 phases. Phase 1 is mixed-methods; online conversations will inform a survey that will define segments. Phase 2 uses co-creation workshops where young adults and public health practitioners work together to make healthy eating messages. Phase 3 evaluates these messages in a real-world setting.
Phase 4 will translate the findings from phases 1-3. Public health practitioners and the research team use outcomes from the study to inform future strategies and to develop tools for using social media for use by stakeholders and the research community for longer term benefits.

Conclusion: The outcomes will include a rich understanding of young adults’ attitudes and behaviours related to healthy eating interventions delivered via social media and will result in healthy eating-related lifestyle segments for young Australian adults.
This work is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant number: GNT1115496).

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