Health information behaviour, attitudes towards health information and motivating factors for physical activity among older people: differences by sex and age

Title: Health information behaviour, attitudes towards health information and motivating factors for physical activity among older people: differences by sex and age

Authors:

Enwald Heidi
Information Studies, School of Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi University; Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu

Kangas Maarit
Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu

Keränen Niina
Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu; Infotech Oulu

Immonen Milla
Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

Similä Heidi
Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

Jämsä Timo
Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu; Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu

Korpelainen Raija
Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu; Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute; Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu

Abstract

Introduction. Difficulties in understanding health information and negative attitudes may form a barrier for effective information use by older people. This study seeks to increase the understanding of health information behaviour, as well as attitudes towards health information and motivating factors for encouraging physical activity in older people. The main focus is on information about physical activity and comparing sexes and different age groups.
Method. Population-based data were collected with a questionnaire survey in the GASEL study. A random sample of 1,500 adults 65 years or older was obtained from the Finnish Population Register Centre. The number of respondents was 918 with a response rate of 61.2%.
Analysis. The statistical significance of the differences between the sexes and age groups were compared using non-parametric tests.
Results. Women were more likely to have shared information with others related to physical activity. Men were more likely to consider that health related stories and articles were overly long and scientific and that ipsative and normative comparison motivates them. The older the respondents were the more likely they were to avoid information and to agree that health information is often too long and scientific and mostly aimed at young people. The younger the respondents were the more eagerly they preferred ipsative comparison and considered information given by different physical activity monitors as motivating. The oldest age group (80 years or older) especially had difficulties with understanding and accepting health information.
Conclusion. Older adults need health information in an easily understandable and accessible form. When possible, the information provided should be tailored for the recipient.

Keywords. health information, information behaviour, information sharing, gender, older people

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