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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2005 Jan-Feb;37(1):27-32.

Portrayals of food practices and exercise behavior in popular American films.

Author information

1
Department of Communication, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. rabell@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe depictions of food, alcohol, and exercise and sport in popular films.

DESIGN:

Content analysis of the 10 top-grossing films each year from 1991 to 2000 (N = 100 films).

ANALYSIS:

Coding reliabilities were assessed with Cohen's kappa. Research questions were addressed with basic descriptive statistics. Associations among variables were examined through a cross-tabulation procedure that corrects for the clustering of exercise and food depictions within movies.

RESULTS:

Food and drink appeared regularly in the films analyzed, typically as a background element or prop. On average, food appeared on the screen once every 4.2 minutes. The foods shown were most likely to be fats, oils, and sweets; fruits, vegetables, and dairy products were rarely seen. More than 20% of the food items shown were alcoholic beverages, which were nearly 2 times more likely to be ingested as nonalcohol food items. Planned exercise and sports appeared at a rate of about 2 incidents per hour. These activities rarely received explicit evaluation by characters.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATION:

Films frequently portray foods and exercise. These depictions have the potential to cultivate beliefs about normative eating and exercise behavior, suggesting a need for public health professionals to encourage the media to offer healthier images.

PMID:
15745653
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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