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Watching Our Words: Is Risk-Based Language Always the Right Choice?

by Michelle Pensa Branco, MPH, IBCLC
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP
  • Learning Format: Live Webinar
  • Handout: No
  • Origin: GOLD Learning

Within the lactation world, it is widely accepted that optimizing infant feeding practices and normalize breastfeeding, we must frame breastfeeding as the physiological norm and not breastfeeding as the risk behaviour. For example, breastfeeding does not reduce the risk of type II diabetes, but rather not breastfeeding increases the risk of type II diabetes. Most of us have had this framing drilled into us during our training and can deftly turn around any headline to reflect the correct wording.

It is, indeed, scientifically correct that breastfeeding is the physiological norm for human: artificial feeding is no more “normal” for the human baby than using a wheelchair to be mobile. However, health communication is about more than delivering scientifically accurate facts to the target population. In motivating parents to initiate breastfeeding and then maintain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and alongside complementary foods for at least 2 years and beyond, the science of health behaviour is often overlooked.

In this session, we will discuss some of the major models of health behaviour change and how risk is perceived and acted up on within these models, drawing from both maternal-child health and other public health. We will review the rationale for using risk-based language as well as the evidence for different perspectives, including the use of social marketing strategies.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Explain the difference between risk and hazard;

Objective 2: Provide an example of where “risk” is an effective motivator;and

Objective 3: Describe what is meant by “intention-behaviour gap”.

Presentations: 3  |  Hours / CE Credits: 3  |  Viewing Time: 4 Weeks