Navigation Links
News source may steer perceived solution to childhood obesity

Where you get your news could play a significant role in determining what you perceive as the best strategy for addressing childhood obesity. According to a study led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whether you believe the keys to combating childhood obesity are personal factors such as individual behavior changes or system-level factors such as marketing and the environment may depend on your primary news source. Researchers examined the news media's framing of childhood obesity and found that television news was more likely than other news sources to focus on individual behavior change as a solution, while newspapers were more likely to identify system-level solutions. The results are featured in the June 20, 2011, issue of Pediatrics.

"Overall, news stories consistently mentioned behavior change most often as a solution to the problem of childhood obesity, however, we identified noticeable differences in coverage by source. Newspaper articles more often mentioned changes affecting neighborhoods, schools and the food and beverage industry, while television coverage often focused on individual child or parent behavior-oriented solutions," said Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP, lead author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management. "News media coverage patterns indicated that by 2003, childhood obesity was firmly on the news media's agenda, remaining so until 2007."

Barry, along with colleagues from Sarah Lawrence College, Yale School of Public Health and the University of Minnesota, analyzed the content of a random sample of news stories on childhood obesity published in 18 national and regional news sources in the U.S. from 2000 to 2009. Researchers measured whether a news story mentioned any potential solutions to the problem of childhood obesity and coded individual behavior change as well as system-oriented solutions such as changes affecting schools, neighborhoods and food and beverage industry practices to combat obesity. Over the ten year study period, researchers found the mention of solutions involving restrictions on the food and beverage industry such as food and beverage taxes, vending machine restrictions and advertising regulations rose substantially in the early years of the study, but have declined sharply in recent years.

The most common individual-level solutions mentioned were behavior change related to diet (45%), such as parents serving their children more fruits and vegetables, and exercise (36%), such as making more time for family-oriented physical activities. Thirty-seven percent mentioned school-level changes as a solution to the problem like serving healthy school lunches and requiring gym or recess. Few news stories mentioned neighborhood-level changes such as creating safe places for children to play or moving more grocery stores with healthy food options into poorer communities.

"Given that a majority of Americans obtain health information from the news media, how the news media frames the problem of childhood obesity will likely influence citizens' opinions about the types of private or governmental responses that are appropriate for addressing this global epidemic," said Sarah Gollust, PhD, senior author of the study and assistant professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota. "Considering the movement toward consumer-oriented health care, the public increasingly relies on news media to obtain health information, challenging journalists to provide a fuller picture of the causes of childhood obesity and available options to combat it."

"We also found a decline in coverage of childhood obesity by the news media over the last few years. This decline would make sense if media attention had led to greater public awareness, and greater public awareness had led to a decline in obesity rates," Barry adds. "However, studies show that childhood obesity rates show no signs of declining. Thus, it is perhaps troubling that our results indicate reduced news media attention to the issue in the absence of having identified and implemented effective strategies for reducing childhood obesity rates."


Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Related medicine news :

1. Women & Infants named Center of Excellence for Reproductive Resource Services
2. USC study locates the source of key brain function
3. Medicare should employ new data sources, methods to ensure accuracy of geographic adjustments to payments
4. HIV-infected donors present novel source of organs for HIV-infected transplant candidates
5. Nitric oxide impacts source of sickle cell pain crisis
6. Report Ranks Top Sources of Illness Related to Foods
7. Blacks more willing to exhaust financial resources for more cancer care
8. Doctors Most Trusted Source of Vaccine Information, Study Finds
9. Electronic medical records improve quality of care in resource-limited countries
10. Major Drug Review Research Fails to Disclose Funding Sources
11. Research finds open-source software is actually more secure for health care IT
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... ProStatic Analog ... effect tool designed specially for Final Cut Pro X. FCPX users ... the easy-to-use modification controls. Destoying and creating chaotic distortion is now quick and ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... Trying to relax on a couch can actually be uncomfortable, so an ... due to personal experience with a bad back," he said. , This easy-to-use, versatile ... as increases support. It also makes it easier to eat, do other activities and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an ... the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring ... injuries. The article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases ... cover so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Consistent with the ... 2016 Building Better Radiology Marketing Programs meeting will showcase some of the ... 2016, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with a pre-conference session on a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... 2015 Une nouvelle approche ... Bremachlorin contre le cancer avancé.    ... l,immunothérapie au traitement photodynamique au Bremachlorin contre le ... Une nouvelle approche consistant à combiner l,immunothérapie au ...    Clinical Cancer Research . ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "2016 ... by Test, Country Volume and Sales Segment ... Emerging Opportunities" report to their offering. ... the addition of the "2016 Global ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nederland, November 26, 2015 ... Een nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie met ... kanker. ) ...      (Photo: ) ... Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: