Lack of awareness of health promotion messages in a group of New Zealanders over the age of forty living in the Manawatu : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Philosophy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
The aim of the Health Promotion Awareness Study was to assess the awareness of health promotion messages from public and commercial organisations in a non-random group of self-selected adults living in the Manawatu. A secondary aim was to compare the lifestyle habits of the group with those reported in national surveys. The study involved 115 self-selected New Zealanders (43 men and 72 women) over the age of forty years. Awareness of health promotion messages was assessed using a mailed out survey of which 69 were returned. Adherence to health promotion messages from commercial organisations was also assessed. Food intake was estimated by 24-hour dietary recall. Basic anthropometric measurements were made (height, weight, hip and waist circumference), and a submaximal exercise test wras used to assess fitness. Habitual physical activity was defined using two questionnaires and a self-reported assessment of health (SF-36) was completed. The results show that subjects met the New Zealand national guidelines for food intake, fitness and physical activity but felt they ought to exercise more. There was a good awareness of national health promotion organisations but only half the subjects had a general idea about the content of the health messages with women having a greater awareness than men. Messages from commercial organisations were generally not adhered to. This group of adult New Zealanders had a healthy lifestyle that was not associated with a high awareness of public health messages, suggesting that other sources of health information are used.