Altered health knowledge and attitudes among health sciences students following media exposure

Amanda Trevino, Christine Cardinal, Crystal C. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Communications media that fails to present information supported by evidence-based practice has the potential to adversely influence knowledge and, ultimately, behaviors. We assessed the immediate effect of a health science documentary on knowledge, attitude, and beliefs among collegiate health sciences students enrolled in an entry-level nutrition course using surveys administered online. Participants (n = 160) completed the pre-survey, watched the documentary What the Health, and immediately completed the post-survey in one setting. Compared with pre-survey scores, participants reported a significant decrease in knowledge, change in attitude to health toward regulation of animal products, and increased agreement with all seven, pre-selected contradictory health claims presented in the documentary. Post-documentary, most participants reported they were planning to make a change in their dietary habits to reflect a plant-based diet. Documentaries providing health information contradictory to the current body of scientific literature are persuasive and can potentially increase negative health behaviors. Inclusion of practices within the health curriculum that encourage, and ultimately, improve health literacy among students before entering the health care workforce is essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-976
Number of pages10
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • attitude to health
  • communications media
  • evidence-based practice
  • health literacy
  • students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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