Canadians' strongly influenced by media reporting on health and health research

    Canadians want more media coverage on results of health and science

    OTTAWA, Dec. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Nearly nine out of 10 Canadians confirm
making specific behavioural changes as a direct result of media reports on
health and health research, a survey, conducted by Angus Reid Strategies and
released today by Research Canada: An Alliance for Health Discovery has found.
    Over the past five years, a high proportion of Canadians have modified
their food and beverage consumption, altered their vitamin and medicine
intake, changed their level of physical activity and revisited their purchases
of consumer goods based on health news reports they have seen, read or heard.
    "The findings illustrate the unique power and influence of the media to
convey information which affects behaviour and which can help Canadians
maintain and improve their health," said Dr. Ronald Worton, Chair of Research
Canada and host of a Media Science Forum "Communicating Health Research in an
Era of Headline News" being held today in Ottawa.
    The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Forum hosted by Research
Canada, and supported by key sponsors such as the Rx&D Health Research
Foundation and the Canadian Obesity Network. The Forum is also supported by
two of Canada's federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes for Health
Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The Forum is
engaging esteemed representatives of the media and scientific research sectors
in a dialogue to foster cooperation and convergence among these communities.
    "There is an untapped opportunity for the media and science research
communities to work together to convey credible, accurate, and
easy-to-understand information about research that will benefit the public,"
said Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada and
Chair of the Media Science Forum Steering Committee.
    The survey indicated that Canadians are ever eager for more coverage of
science and health issues - areas which are deemed to be in the shadows
compared to issues such as politics, sports and business. It also found that
Canadians yearn for more scientific background information in media accounts
to support health reporting, rendering it more accurate and balanced. While
media are effective in presenting information in an accessible manner,
scientists are a trusted source of credible and accurate information, the poll
    The survey also sought to gauge public perceptions of obesity and found
that a solid majority of Canadians believe that personal choices, such as
overeating and lack of exercise, play the biggest role in causing obesity. And
yet a majority of people believe that society must solve the obesity program
rather than individuals.
    Other sponsors of the Media Science Forum include Pfizer Canada Inc.,
sanofi pasteur, sanofi aventis, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of
Canada, the Association of Canadian Academic Health Care Organizations, Canada
Foundation for Innovation, and Carleton University.
    For a detailed presentation of the survey findings, visit
    Members of the media are encouraged to attend the Media Science Forum
(being held at the Ottawa Congress Centre) in person or via live webcast as of
9:15 a.m. on December 6, 2007. To register and participate visit:

    Research Canada: An Alliance for Health Discovery is a not-for-profit,
voluntary organization that is a strong national voice for health research
advocacy in Canada. Working for all Canadians, its membership is drawn from
all sectors dedicated to increasing investments in health research, including
the leading health research institutes, national health charities, hospitals,
regional health authorities, universities, private industry and others.

For further information:

For further information: Heidi McSweeney, (613) 234-5129, Cell: (613)
286-2830,; Andrea Matyas, (613) 224-8482, Cell: (613)

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