Health information behaviour, attitudes towards health information and motivating factors for encouraging physical activity among older people: differences by sex and age

Heidi Enwald, Maarit Kangas, Niina Keränen, Milla Immonen, Heidi Similä, Timo Jämsä, Raija Korpelainen

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    Introduction. Difficulties in understanding health information and negative attitudes may form a barrier for effective information use by older people. This study seeks to increase the understanding of health information behaviour, as well as attitudes towards health information and motivating factors for encouraging physical activity in older people. The main focus is on information about physical activity and comparing sexes and different age groups.Method. Population-based data were collected with a questionnaire survey in the GASEL study. A random sample of 1,500 adults 65 years or older was obtained from the Finnish Population Register Centre. The number of respondents was 918 with a response rate of 61.2%.Analysis. The statistical significance of the differences between the sexes and age groups were compared using non-parametric tests.Results. Women were more likely to have shared information with others related to physical activity. Men were more likely to consider that health related stories and articles were overly long and scientific and that ipsative and normative comparison motivates them. The older the respondents were the more likely they were to avoid information and to agree that health information is often too long and scientific and mostly aimed at young people. The younger the respondents were the more eagerly they preferred ipsative comparison and considered information given by different physical activity monitors as motivating. The oldest age group (80 years or older) especially had difficulties with understanding and accepting health information.Conclusion. Older adults need health information in an easily understandable and accessible form. When possible, the information provided should be tailored for the recipient.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)
    JournalInformation Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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