Monday, July 21, 2008

The challenge of health campaigning

News today that so many of us are scared of the sun highlights the challenge for health campaigners.

The sun is the reason we and the planet are here yet it seems many of us think that any exposure to it can cause cancer. In fact, we need some sun to help the body manufacture vitamin D.

Health campaigners are always looking for a simple message since simple messages are more likely to succeed yet good health is usually more complicated. It's about balance. Alcohol is a good example: a little alcohol is good for you - too much is a killer.

We wrestle with this on malehealth all the time. We want to keep it simple but if the message is not just simple but simplistic it may not help health at all. Sadly, with the possible exception of packing up smoking, good health is rarely as simple as eat X, do Y, don't do Z. And that's why health promotion - or social marketing to use the current vogue term - is more complicated than selling soap powder and must be founded in the reality of the way we all live.

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