The Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health Health News Index, a series of 39 surveys with a total of over 42,000 respondents from 1996 through 2002, measures how closely Americans follow major health stories in the news and what they understand about the issues covered in those stories. On average, four in ten adults reported following health news stories closely. The public reports paying the most attention to stories about public health, followed by health policy and disease-related stories. While knowledge about health news varies, individuals who follow health news stories closely are significantly more likely to give the correct answer to knowledge questions about those stories.

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