Tags: celebrity | health | campaign

Celebrity Health Campaigns Deemed Helpful

Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:04 AM

Magic Johnson’s AIDS advocacy. Katie Couric’s colorectal screening campaign. Suzanne Somers’ push for stem-cell research. Celebrity health campaigns are everywhere these days. But do they really raise awareness and have long-term public health benefits?
The answer, according to a new report in the British Medical Journal, is an emphatic “Yes.”
Simon Chapman, a public health specialist at the University of Sydney, argues in a new analysis that the extra publicity that celebrities provide can help promote public health in a variety of ways. Although celebrities are not health experts or doctors, he said they "often speak personally and bring compelling authenticity to public discourse."
He said those concerned about celebrities in health campaigns "invariably point to examples which have gone badly wrong or which fail to change the world forever."
But he added: "They are silent about the many examples of celebrity engagement that have massively amplified becalmed news coverage about important neglected problems or celebrity involvement in advocacy campaigns to promote evidence based health policy reform."
Citing one example, Chapman pointed to the case of cricketer Shane Warne who, in 1999, accepted a six figure sum to use nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking. When he started smoking again, many health experts "failed to exploit" the message about the risks of relapsing, said Chapman, "instead climbing on a cynical populist bandwagon about his alleged motives."
By contrast, he noted Kylie Minogue's breast cancer campaign "led to an increase in unscreened women in the target age range having mammography.”

© HealthDay

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Report says celebrity advocacy can raise awareness and have long-term public health benefits.
Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:04 AM
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