Stroke and Heart Disease Prevention Education via Telenovela: A Focus Group's Evaluation


  • Stephanie Vaughn PhD RN CRRN

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To evaluate a telenovela, “La Familia Nutritiva y Balanceada,” for cultural context and its efficacy as an educational tool to promote positive health behaviors in Latino families.


Ethnography was employed to interpret cultural health behaviors of 12 Latinas through a focus group after viewing the telenovela, a culturally accepted form of entertainment education.


Analysis of the transcribed interview revealed three recurrent themes: Not all fat is bad; add fruits and vegetables daily to diet; and children need to be involved. The group purported that the inclusion of children in the marketing and preparation of the food would translate into better food habits.


Participants demonstrated basic knowledge between food and health, and acknowledged that they gained an appreciation for good fat in the diet. The group related the telenovela would be a good tool for clinics, health fairs, and schools.


Latinos are at high risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Health education messages need to incorporate cultural norms into an intervention that supports a behavior change, such as improved nutrition. Studies support that Latinos connect to media, such as telenovela and interpersonal communication, which make these appropriate choices for health education tools.