YouTube Offers Opportunity to Spread Information on Celiac Disease

Professionals could make better use of YouTube to reach more people with information about celiac, according to analysis from William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, and Columbia University in New York. The study identified 100 videos about celiac that were most viewed on YouTube between 2007 and 2010. They were viewed almost 7 million times.

Videos included 48 uploaded by health professionals, 32 by consumers and 20 by news sources. The three groups provided similar content. While 57 percent discussed gluten-containing products, these videos attracted 78 percent of views. Those providing health care information were relatively few: 56 percent did not explain how celiac is diagnosed, and they attracted only one-quarter of cumulative views. Few videos discussed age of diagnosis, who is at risk, celiac’s hereditary nature or the risk of inhibited growth in children. Only 14 percent indicated family members of people with celiac should be screened for the disease.

The investigation included only English-language videos and was the first to study YouTube as a medium for celiac education. It did not address accuracy of the information provided, so this needs further study. Medical professionals could use this avenue to reach a large audience, the authors argue.

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