The Community & Public Health Misinformation

The information spread around in communities whether right or wrong influences the health outcomes of individuals.


4/3/20231 min read

This year's National Public Health Week #NPHW, which kicked off today Monday, April 3rd and will end Sunday, April 9, is themed "Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health." The daily theme for today is "Community."

Although digital media has increased the influence of online communities that allows interactions, this article focuses on geographic communities such as neighborhoods, cities and counties.

In this article, let's discuss the important role of the community in public health misinformation. A community has critical importance to an effective public health system for varied reasons. Especially in low-income communities and communities of color, the social structures of these communities affect the health behaviors and beliefs of individuals residing there. Confirmation bias and low education level, which affect their critical thinking are contributing factors.

As someone who grew up in a small community within Lagos state, Nigeria, I can acknowledge that living in a particular community can influence health decisions and beliefs. In many communities, culture influences their perception of certain health issues. In many ways, this has impacted healthcare approaches within homes. The information spread around in communities whether right or wrong influences the health outcomes of individuals.

Community is where we are. When health-related misinformation spreads and is believed by many members of communities, it endangers the lives of many others. The shared characteristics and experiences of community members enable the easy and rapid spread of health-related information.

A study by PBS (2021) reveals that ninety-five percent of Americans identified misinformation as a problem when they're trying to access important information. In communities, people are always on the lookout for the right information, but the consumption of health-related misinformation frustrates the improvement of their lives.

More attention should be given to improving health promotion activities, including communication in communities and interventions to reduce individuals' exposure to health-related misinformation.

As always, healthy people make a healthy community.