Diabetes social media users’ preferences for a health promotion intervention


Participatory health approaches are increasingly drawing attention among the scientific community1,2, and could be used to improve health promotion interventions on diabetes. The main aim of this study is to better understand the interests and preferences of social media users of diabetes channels regarding diabetes related contents. Their preferences will be used to create the contents of a health promotion intervention.


All social media followers of the Norwegian Diabetes Association were invited to actively participate in the definition of the health promotion intervention by expressing their opinions through an adhoc online questionnaire regarding their preferred contents; contents’ format (text, images and/or video); contents’ frequency; and preferred social media channels. The online questionnaire was based on LimeSurvey, and it was linked to via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in November 2017. A detailed description of the method used in this study is published elsewhere3.


The questionnaire was answered by a total of 346 informants during one week (332 reached the questionnaire from Facebook; 14 from Instagram; and 0 from Twitter). Table 1 summarizes the reported demographics of the respondents.

Regarding their preferred contents: 237 (68,5%) indicated they would like to find contents on research and innovation on diabetes; 188 (54,3%) on technical aspects of self-management (e.g. how to use glucose sensors); 161 (46,5%) on personal aspects of self-management (e.g., how to be motivated to follow up with diabetes); 117 (33,8%) would prefer to find interviews or personal histories from other people with diabetes; and 114 (32,9%) would like to find more contents on healthcare services.

A total of 281 participants preferred diabetes related contents in text format; 150 preferred images, and 79 preferred videos. Among 295 respondents, 37,3% would like to find diabetes-related contents on social media daily or even several times per day; while 20,3% would prefer every second or third day; and 42,4% weekly or more seldom. Regarding their preferred social media channels for finding these health promotion messages: 291 chose Facebook; 52 Instagram; and 14 Twitter.


Social media users interested in diabetes seem to value receiving health promotion interventions on diabetes through these media. The use of a participatory approach listening to the users’ preferences can potentially increase diabetes patients’ engagement and satisfaction with the health promotion intervention, and therefore help people attain healthier lifestyles.


  1. World Health Organization. Taking a participatory approach to development and better health. 2015. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data...
  2. International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research (ICPHR). Position Paper 1: What is Participatory Health Research? 2013. Available from: https://communityresearchcanad...
  3. Gabarron, E., et al. Social media for health promotion in diabetes: study protocol for a participatory public health intervention design. In press.