This article assesses how the news media framed the causes of childhood obesity and potential solutions to the problem over a ten-year period (2000-2009). Researchers found that by 2003, childhood obesity was on the news media’s agenda and remained so until 2007, after which coverage decreased. Overall, news stories were equally likely to attribute childhood obesity to individual behavioral habits and system-level causes such as socioeconomic or food industry related factors. However, news magazines were significantly more likely to mention individual causes compared with television news. News stories consistently mentioned behavioral change most often as a solution to obesity, but television news reports were significantly more likely to mention behavior change compared with newspapers, which more often mentioned system-level solutions to the problem of obesity.
Published: July 2011
ID #: 68051
Authors: Barry CL, Jarlenski M, Grob R, Schlesinger M, Gollust SE
Framing the Consequences of Childhood Obesity to Increase Public Support for Obesity Prevention PolicyThis paper examines the effects of messages describing consequences of childhood obesity on Americans’ attitudes about obesity prevention policy and compares these attitudes by political ideology (conservative, moderate, and liberal). Using data from two nationally representative internet-based surveys with adult participants, researchers found that respondents considered several consequences of childhood obesity to be strong justification More
Picturing Obesity: Analyzing the Social Epidemiology of Obesity Conveyed Through U.S. News Media ImagesThis paper discusses the results of a study which analyzed the images of overweight and obese individuals in Time and Newsweek magazine coverage over a 25-year period (1984-2009), comparing the depictions with the actual national prevalence of obesity within key populations of interest during the same period. Researchers found that over one-third of depicted individuals More