Objective: To assess the recall of media reports about vitamin D and associated factors.
Methods: Analysis of cross-sectional telephone interview data (2,001 Queensland adults, 18–70 years) on vitamin D and personal sun protection, recall of media reports and participant characteristics.
Results: 83.7% of participants had heard of vitamin D, 47.5% through the media. Only 513 (25.6%) participants recalled the media content within four main themes: vitamin D is beneficial/comes from the sun (47.0%); some people aren't getting enough vitamin D, need more sun (27.9%); need to balance sun exposure and skin protection (11.5%); or other (13.6%). Only 65 of the 950 participants (6.8%) reported a change to their behaviour(s) due to the media report.
Conclusion: Although the media were the main source of information about vitamin D for almost 50% of participants, recall of the content and direct effect on behaviour was low. Only a small minority recalled a balanced media report of beneficial and harmful aspects of sun exposure.
Implications: Health professionals often supply media with background information. To achieve best public health practice for sun protection and vitamin D, information to foster balanced media reports should be provided.