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Preferences and interests of diabetes social media users regarding a health-promotion intervention

Authors Gabarron E, Dorronzoro E, Bradway M, Rivera-Romero O, Wynn R, Årsand E

Received 17 August 2018

Accepted for publication 25 October 2018

Published 23 November 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 2499—2506


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Elia Gabarron,1 Enrique Dorronzoro,2 Meghan Bradway,1,3 Octavio Rivera-Romero,2 Rolf Wynn,3,4 Eirik Årsand1,3

1Norwegian Centre for E-health Research, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway; 2Department of Electronic Technology, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain; 3Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT – Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway; 4Division of Mental Health and Addictions, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Background: Nowadays, rapid and accessible participatory research on diabetes can be carried out using social media platforms. The objective of this study was to identify preferences and interests of diabetic social media users regarding a health-promotion intervention targeting them.
Methods: Social media followers of the Norwegian Diabetes Association were invited to participate in the creation of a health-promotion intervention on diabetes by expressing their opinions through an online questionnaire posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The questionnaire asked participants about their demographics and preferences regarding type of health content: format, frequency, and channels to deliver content. Questions regarding the perceived quality of diabetes-related information and satisfaction with content on social media were also included.
Results: The questionnaire was answered by 346 participants: 332 (96%) of those were reached via Facebook, 66.5% of respondents (n=230) identified themselves as women, 54% (n=187) as individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and 71% (n=235) were aged 30–64 years. The preferred type of content was “research and innovation on diabetes”, selected by 78.0% of the respondents. “Text format” was the choice for 93.4%, and 97.3% would prefer to find health-promotion content on Facebook. There was heterogeneity in the desired frequency of this content. In a scale ranging from 0 to 100, the perceived quality of diabetes-related information on social media was 62.0±1.2 and satisfaction with such content 61.9±1.3.
Conclusion: The approach used in this study was successful in reaching and involving participants quickly, and could also potentially increase diabetes patients’ engagement and satisfaction with health-promotion interventions, enhance their sense of community, and thus help people attain healthier lifestyles. It is a limitation that our sample might not have been fully representative, as the most interested social media users might have chosen to participate.

Keywords: community-based participatory research, diabetes, health promotion, health education, social media

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