You are at risk: how health risk information can be made more meaningful for consumers


Consumers are increasingly expected to utilize online information to make informed health decisions. But are these expectations realistic given the fact that communicators typically fail to adopt a user perspective and do not match information to consumers' information processing? And considering that 25 to 50% of the public has inadequate health literacy skills?

Our aim is to study how health risk information can be communicated so that it facilitates effective information processing, particularly forming meaningful interpretations. Such interpretations -that you are the one at risk and you should act on it- are a major precondition for informed choice. We will investigate this for the national Dutch initiative in online lifestyle-related risk information, i.e. the PreventieConsult modules on cardio-metabolic risk, founded by patient foundations, NIPED and GP associations. Despite efforts to apply consumer-friendly materials and language, recent user evaluations and theoretical insights showed that large consumer groups -especially the impoverished- do not adequately understand this information, resulting in limited impact on decisions and behavior.

By employing both qualitative and quantitative experimental methods, we will gain a more fundamental understanding of how consumers process lifestyle-related risk information, as well as the conditions under which certain approaches facilitate effective processing. We will focus on (1) text/visuals combinations; and 2) tailoring techniques. Our central hypothesis is that these two approaches facilitate effective information processing by enhancing people's ability to elaborate and their motivation for thorough information processing. Our findings will result in readily applicable solutions to develop clear and meaningful health risk information.


Wetenschappelijk artikel

Publicatie bedoeld voor een breed publiek

  • O.C. Damman(2013): Begrijpelijke Taal bij risicocommunicatie
  • N.M.M. Bogaerts, O.C. Damman, M.J. Van den Haak, D.R.M. Timmermans(2014): Projectupdate: You are at risk: How health risk information can be made more meaningful for consumers
  • N.M.M. Bogaerts, O.C. Damman, M.J. Van den Haak, D.R.M. Timmermans(2014): 20% kans? Nou dat valt nog wel mee!
  • O.C. Damman(2015): Risicocommunicatie in een risicotest


  • N.M.M. Bogaerts, O.C. Damman, M.J. Van den Haak, D.R.M. Timmermans(2013): Problemen en aanbevelingen ter verbetering van de risicotest van het PreventieConsult
  • (2014): Am I at risk?
  • O.C. Damman(2018): Op weg naar effectieve risicocommunicatie over hart-en vaatziekten: Verspreiding van een hartleeftijd tool onder burgers en huisartsen





Dr. O.C. Damman

Verbonden aan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, VU Medisch Centrum Amsterdam, Huisarts- en Verpleeghuisgeneeskunde


Drs. N.M.M. Bogaerts, Dr. O.C. Damman, Dr. O.C. Damman, N.B. Niet Bekend en Niet Gebruiken


01/09/2012 tot 30/04/2017