Public awareness of the warning signs of stroke is important. As part of an educational campaign using mass media, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario conducted public opinion polling in 4 communities to track the level of awareness of the warning signs of stroke and to determine the impact of different media strategies.
Telephone surveys were conducted among members of the general public in 1 control and 3 test communities before and after mass media campaigns. The main outcome measure used to determine effectiveness of the campaigns was the ability to name > or =2 warning signs of stroke.
In communities exposed to television advertising, ability to name the warning signs of stroke increased significantly. There was no significant change in the community receiving print (newspaper) advertising, and the control community experienced a decrease. Television increased the knowledge of both men and women and of people with less than a secondary school education but not of those > or =65 years of age. Intermittent, low-level television advertising was as effective as continuous, high-level television advertising.
Results of this survey can be used to guide mass media-buying strategies for public health education.