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Health Commun. 2012;27(7):653-62. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.629406. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Network news coverage of obesity in two time periods: an analysis of issues, sources, and frames.

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  • 1College of Mass Communications, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.


Obesity is an epidemic plaguing American society. The current study adds to a growing body of framing research as it examines the portrayal of obesity on television network news in two 5-year time periods, 1995-1999 and 2005-2009. Through content analysis of TV news transcripts from three networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS), this study analyzed episodic-thematic frames, issues, and sources. Results revealed the amount of obesity-related news coverage increased along with thematically framed stories. The use of politicians, affected others, supporters, and others as sources increased, but experts and those struggling with obesity remained primary sources. Changes in the proportion of issues discussed revealed significant decreases in the discussion of genetic causes and personal stories. Results reflect the societal impact of obesity and indicate the ways in which obesity is perceived by the public through network news. Findings provide insight for media advocacy opportunities and contribute to research on framing and obesity.

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