Online Program

Exploring the dynamics of public support for water fluoridation in South Korea: Focusing on the influence of value, knowledge, and framing

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jinhee Chun, B.A., Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Myoungsoon You, Ph.D, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Youngkee Ju, Ph.D, School of Communication, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea, Republic of (South)
Heejung Son, M.P.H, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
The Korean government started water fluoridation in 1981 to economize on the cost of preventing dental caries of its nation. However, some cities have refused to conduct the policy, due to the controversial issues such as "scientific uncertainty" or local governments' "freedom of choice." Despite the controversy, water fluoridation has been acclaimed as one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. This study examines the dynamics of the public support for water fluoridation, investigating the role of social value and scientific knowledge on one hand, and media framing on the other. We analyzed 425 media articles in light of framing, 'risk' versus 'benefit' and 'government pressure' versus 'individual choice.' Also, we surveyed Korean citizens with their social values and knowledge of and experience with fluoride. The public's gain framing and loss framing of the policy was asked as well to see if they are associated with the public support for the policy. The study found that there was an association between social values, knowledge, and framing, and water fluoridation support. Those with knowledge of and experience with fluoride supported the fluoridation plan. Media framing as well as public framing also played an important role. The implication of the finding was discussed in terms of developing strategies for effective health risk communication to gain public support for a health policy.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the public’s perception of water fluoridation in South Korea. through their social values, knowledge, and by exposure to media. Analyze the media content in terms of media framing, through i.e., risk versus benefit analysis and government pressure versus individual choice categorization. Assess the role of social values, knowledge, and media use in determining public attitude toward the political and social context in which water fluoridation is debated, enacted, or opposed. Explain methods for questioning the public about factors influencing their political view of water fluoridation. Discuss the further implications of the effective ways to communicate public about public health enterprises policies.

Keyword(s): Oral Health, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been studying under the professor You who is an expert of risk communication, and has much experience of presenting her research in APHA conference and others. My research interest includes framing analysis, health community, and health evaluation. This research was designed and processed under professor You’s advice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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