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Health Commun. 2012;27(1):86-97. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.569003. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

Obesity in the new media: a content analysis of obesity videos on YouTube.

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Department of Communication, University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121-4400, USA.


This study examines (1) how the topics of obesity are framed and (2) how obese persons are portrayed on YouTube video clips. The analysis of 417 obesity videos revealed that a newer medium like YouTube, similar to traditional media, appeared to assign responsibility and solutions for obesity mainly to individuals and their behaviors, although there was a tendency that some video categories have started to show other causal claims or solutions. However, due to the prevailing emphasis on personal causes and solutions, numerous YouTube videos had a theme of weight-based teasing, or showed obese persons engaging in stereotypical eating behaviors. We discuss a potential impact of YouTube videos on shaping viewers' perceptions about obesity and further reinforcing stigmatization of obese persons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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