Impact of health messaging in a televised soap opera on diabetes risk knowledge: a longitudinal study conducted in Fiji

Main Article Content

Jyotishna Mudaliar
Judith Mccool
Megan Gerbasi
Anne Becker


Television, drama, diabetes, perceptions



Purpose: We hypothesized that exposure to locally relevant health content in Shortland Street (a New Zealand based hospital television drama) would be associated with increased knowledge and awareness of diabetes and associated risk factors.

Methods: Prospective study design to compare knowledge of health and diabetes-related risk, and healthy behaviours, self-efficacy, behavioural intentions, and perceived social norms among a convenience sample of Fijian television viewers exposed to health messaging in three episodes of Shortland Street.

Results: Exposure to health messages in the Shortland Street episodes was associated with change in perceived health and diabetes norms. Perception that family members were engaged with healthy behaviors increased significantly following exposure (p = .033). Perceived prevalence of diabetes among acquaintances significantly increased following exposure to the episodes (p = .008).

Conclusions: Entertainment Education may be helpful in shifting health norms in the context of Fiji, alongside other health promotion measures. 


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