Health communication and prevention in Hispanic communities:
An exploratory analysis of Twitter usage
Lina M. Gómez, PhD (email@example.com), Alexandra Prieto & Ramón Borges
Universidad del Este, Carolina, Puerto Rico, 00984
Introduction and Background
•Little is known about the use of social media for
health communication in Hispanic America.
•Our aim is to analyze how Twitter is used for health
communication in Hispanic communities.
•RQ1: Which are the health topics most discussed?
•RQ2: Are health prevention messages designed to
encourage dialogism and mobilization?
•This work was financially supported by MAPFRE
Foundation in Spain.
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•Hispanic social media users are taking a passive
approach regarding health prevention issues. They are
only concern about getting information but not posting
it, sharing with others, or commenting their
experiences regarding different health topics.
•Prevention messages were not designed taking into
account audience engagement features, which helps to
measure public reaction.
•This study stresses the diverse potential and
functionalities that social media platforms have,
especially Twitter, in contributing to health prevention
and education communication.
•Quantitative content analysis technique
•A Python code was used to access the Twitter API and
download tweets from 2015.
•Sample of 3000 tweets with the hashtag/keyword
•Variables were developed inductively and deductively:
oTweet purpose (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012)
oTweet topic (WHO health topics)
oSentimental analysis (Berger, 2013)
•The inter-coder reliability tests conducted on each
variable indicated scores ranging from 89 to 93%
agreement (Cohen’s kappa).
•Many public health institutions and organizations in
Hispanic America are using social media for
informational purposes and not for encouraging
dialogue and mobilization.
•Health organizations must design prevention
strategies and campaigns that are unique and
interesting, promoting valuable content for users to
pass along (Shan et al. 2015).
•Twitter users should include audience engagement
features in health messages so it let others to
discover and share it with their network.
•Previous studies have found that Facebook is the
social platform most used for promoting health issues
(Gold et al. 2011; Laranjo et al. 2014; Paul & Drezde,
•Twitter is mostly used for:
•Sharing information about personal health.
•Identifying health treatment options (De
Choudhury et al. 2014).
•Encouraging health prevention, especially for
•Promoting mobilization among users and the
development of communities (Xu et al. 2015).
Word cloud of 3000 tweets with the hashtag/keyword
Information Communication Mobilization
0% 10% 20% 30% 40%
Lifestyle and nutrition
•Media and government posted more tweets regarding
•Sixty nine percent of tweets did not included hashtags.
•Fifty-five percent of the messages were positive, 38%
negative, and 7% neutral.
•Correlations between variables were significant (e.g.
user type with tweet purpose, tweet topic, and
sentimental analysis, p=0.000)