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Health Commun. 2010 Dec;25(8):709-17. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2010.521913.

Public health framing of news regarding childhood obesity in the United States.

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Department of Communication Studies, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.


Five U.S. newspapers were searched for stories regarding childhood obesity. Of the 201 stories appearing in 1996, 2001, or 2006, 97 incorporated a public health frame (i.e., connects problem to the larger social and environmental context; exposes risk factors; includes information regarding preventatives and correctives). Significant risk factors were identified as unhealthy eating practices, lack of physical activity, and ads for junk food directed at children. Prevalent categories of preventatives and correctives focused on changes in diet, particularly in the home or in areas controlled by parents. Offered less frequently were suggestions regarding increases in physical activity. Consistent with previous research, the majority of both preventatives and correctives focused on individual-level as opposed to societal-level factors. Implications of these findings for the framing of news regarding childhood obesity are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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