Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should celebrities get involved in public health campaigns?

Date:
September 25, 2012
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Two experts debate whether celebrity involvement in public health campaigns can deliver long term benefits.

In this week's BMJ, two experts debate whether celebrity involvement in public health campaigns can deliver long term benefits.

Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney thinks the extra publicity that celebrities provide can help promote public health. He acknowledges that celebrities are not experts but says, unlike many experts, they "often speak personally and bring compelling authenticity to public discourse."

He says 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 argues "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."

Why do we expect perfect outcomes after celebrity engagement yet are realistic about the need to sustain public campaigns beyond their first burst, he asks?

He points to the case of cricketer Shane Warne who, in 1999, accepted a six figure sum to use nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking. When photographs appeared of him smoking again, many experts "failed to exploit" the important message about the risks of relapsing, says Chapman, "instead climbing on a cynical populist bandwagon about his alleged motives."

He also points to Kylie Minogue's breast cancer, which "led to an increase in unscreened women in the target age range having mammography, but also to an increase in young women at very low risk seeking mammograms and thus being exposed to unnecessary radiation and false positive investigations."

The ambivalence about "the Kylie effect" reflects enduring debate about the wisdom of breast screening, he says, "but it should not blind us to the potential value of celebrity engagement in important causes."

In contrast, Geof Rayner, Former Chair of the UK Public Health Association, and Honorary Research Fellow at City University London is worried about the insidious influences of celebrity. While celebrities might impart a short term boost to campaigns, he believes they "must tread a cautious path of support because of the risk that the celebrity becomes the story, not the campaign."

Celebrities help shift products, that much is certain, he writes, but argues that celebrity "has become mainstream marketing strategy" across society, even in politics.

He says new measures are needed to promote public health and points to campaign groups that "bring together the lobbying power of thousands of ordinary people through the internet."

Rather than relying on media stunts, modern health campaigners "need to go on the offensive against junk food, alcohol, gambling, and other often celebrity linked, commercial propaganda," he says. "At some point celebrity culture will begin to pall," he concludes. "Some celebrities might help, but let's not look for saviours, buoyed by the happy thought that the work is done when a celebrity is involved. That's a lie too."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. S. Chapman. Does celebrity involvement in public health campaigns deliver long term benefit? Yes. BMJ, 2012; 345 (sep25 2): e6364 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e6364
  2. G. Rayner. Does celebrity involvement in public health campaigns deliver long term benefit? No. BMJ, 2012; 345 (sep25 2): e6362 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e6362

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should celebrities get involved in public health campaigns?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925183626.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2012, September 25). Should celebrities get involved in public health campaigns?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925183626.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should celebrities get involved in public health campaigns?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925183626.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins