Ensuring health literacy among underserved populations is essential amid an aging population. Accessible and appropriate (both culturally and linguistically) information is important when considering digital media education for older Chinese Americans.
This study aims to investigate how social media fare over time in disseminating health information and how we may most effectively educate this population.
For this study, 5 geriatric-themed educational videos about Parkinson disease, fall prevention, gastrointestinal health, oral health, and pulmonary disease were uploaded to YouTube. Data were collected over a 40-month period. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis were used to compare results from the first and second 20-month periods.
In 40 months, the 5 videos in aggregate accrued 1171.1 hours of watch time, 7299 views, and an average view duration of 9.6 minutes. Comparing the first and second 20-month periods, there was a significant increase in mobile device usage, from 79.4% (3541/4458) to 83.3% (2367/2841). There was no significant difference in the usage of various external traffic sources and methods of sharing, with WhatsApp accounting for the majority of sharing in both 20-month periods.
Our study provides insight into where to focus future strategies to optimize digital media content, and how to best recruit, direct, and disseminate health education to an older adult Chinese American population. Combining the success of YouTube, social media, and messaging platforms such as WhatsApp can help to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers to promote healthy aging.

©Sara Shu, Benjamin K P Woo. Originally published in JMIR Aging (http://aging.jmir.org), 16.06.2020.