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Obesity coverage in black newspapers is mostly negative, MU study finds
Date:2/14/2013

. That advice was heavily attributed to individual responsibilities such as exercise and diet control, which are messages that are often ineffective at motivating African Americans to be healthy for socio-economic and cultural reasons."

Lee encourages newspapers, particularly ones with primarily African-American audiences, to write health stories with positive tones. Instead of stories about increasing obesity rates, she says stories promoting promising new research or positive trends in African-American health would be much more effective in motivating African Americans to make healthier choices.

"Newspapers focused on writing health stories that only emphasize individual responsibilities are missing the bigger picture of social responsibility," Lee said. "To make a constructive impact on the community, health stories that mention societal responsibilities are a necessity while avoiding advice solely focused on individual responsibility. This is because many health news stories do not consider that their audiences may live in food deserts or lack the facilities or ability to exercise safely where they live. Telling someone they have to do things that they physically cannot do to be healthy can have very discouraging and counterproductive effects on an audience that needs as much encouragement as possible."


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Contact: Nathan Hurst
hurstn@missouri.edu
573-882-6217
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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