Are the arts an effective setting for promoting health messages?

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Individuals can contribute to their own well-being through the adoption of positive health behaviours and the avoidance of negative health behaviours. The promotion of health messages is a cognitive strategy used to influence the adoption of health-enhancing behaviours. Since 1991, arts organizations have been sponsored by the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway) to promote anti-smoking, safe alcohol consumption, physical activity, sun protection and nutrition messages to the general population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of arts sponsorship to promote health messages and therefore gauge the effectiveness of the arts as a communication channel to promote health to the general population. Methods: A secondary analysis of the Healthway Survey of Community Recreation and Health data was conducted. The data were collected via a telephone survey of Western Australian adults aged 16–69 years. Overall, 1997 respondents participated in this study, a response rate of 59%. The analysis included a descriptive investigation, followed by logistic regression analyses of message awareness by those engaged and not engaged in the arts for sponsored antismoking, safe alcohol consumption, physical activity, sun protection and nutrition messages. Results: Overall, 68% of those surveyed were classified as engaged in the arts, either as a participant, attendee or member of an arts organization. In general, those engaged in the arts were significantly more likely to recall health messages relating to physical activity adjusted OR = 1.9), sun protection (OR = 1.8) nutrition (OR = 1.5), safe alcohol consumption (OR = 1.5) and anti-smoking (adjusted OR = 1.3) than those not engaged in the arts. Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest the arts have merit beyond intrinsic artistic value and are a viable means of promoting health messages to the general population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-121
Number of pages6
JournalPerspectives in Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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