How did your natto eating habits change? graph of japanese opinionFollowing a link I spotted entitled Nearly Half Believe “Expert” Health Advice Dispensed on Boob Tube on Rising Sun of Nihon, I tracked down the original survey on health information dispensed by television programs, conducted by the Institute of Future Technology in the middle of February. The only demographic information available is that 1,055 people completed a web-based survey.

This survey was conducted after the Aru Aru Daijiten natto scandal blew up, so that should be kept in mind when viewing the results.

Research results

First, around six in ten said they had worries about the health of either themselves or their families.

Q1: Who do you most trust regarding health information? (Sample size=1,055)

  Men Women
Doctor, nurse, other health professionals 33% 32%
Newspaper articles 15% 13%
Television news 11% 12%
Official web sites 10% 12%
Health information television programs 7% 4%
Non-specialist books or magazines 4% 3%
Word of mouth 3% 8%
Personal internet sites 3% 2%
Pharmacists, pharmacy employees 2% 3%
Health information magazines 1% 3%
Other 0% 0%
Nothing/no-one in particular 10% 9%

Note that these percentages are read off a chart so may be slightly inaccurate!

When asked why they watched health information television programs, the top reason was to get easily understandable information on how to be healthy, but also significant (about four in ten said so) was that they were watched not for the health aspect in particular, but they were entertaining in themselves.

Regarding how useful the information presented in these shows were, the most common answer, by over seven in ten, was that they judged them on a case-by-case basis. However, seven in ten also said that they had purchased goods based on recommendation by such television programs.

Q2: Why do you have confidence in health information television programs? (Sample size=1,055, multiple answer)

Specialists appear and explain matters 47.5%
The program also discusses the negative side 38.8%
Newspaper articles or health magazines, etc, have also rated the claims 33.9%
They test the claims on people 26.7%
By using videos or graphics, things are easy to understand 25.1%
Members of the public or famous people give testimonials 16.6%
Other television programs make these claims 14.7%
The program is from a trustworthy television station 13.4%
People around me talk about the issue 11.1%
The product is on sale 6.9%
The claims are effective overseas too 6.3%
Famous MC or commentator appears 3.5%
Other 4.4%
Don’t watch health information television programs 10.0%

Although only about one in five said they had seen the infamous natto diet episode of “Hakkutsu! Aruaru Daijiten” (or Encyclopedia of Living, as it’s known in English), nearly seven in ten heard about it on the grapevine. Three in five also said they would continue to watch health information television programs, but try to do so calmly.

Q3: How did your natto eating habits change after watching Aruaru Daijiten? (Sample size=1,055)

Wasn’t in the habit of eating natto, but started (or tried to, but it was sold out) after I heard about the diet 2.9%
I do eat natto, but increased (or tried to, but it was sold out) the quantity consumed after I heard about the diet 11.7%
I do eat natto, but didn’t increase the quantity consumed 68.9%
Wasn’t in the habit of eating natto, and didn’t want to start after I heard about the diet 16.5%


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