News Source May Steer Perceived Solution to Childhood Obesity

20 Jun 2011 --- 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.

6/20/2011 --- 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."

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Indulgence has reached even America’s healthiest eaters: research

16 Feb 2018 --- New research reveals even the US’ healthiest eaters reach for indulgence foods based on their emotional states. Forty percent of US food-brand lovers who rated their daily diet as extremely healthy agreed with the statement, “When I’m feeling down, I eat something indulgent to make me feel better.” The study, conducted by full-service food branding agency, Foodmix Marketing Communications, breaks out a large group of brand lovers into smaller, differentiated and more actionable consumer segments.  

Nutrition & Health News

Vegan diet improves diabetes markers in overweight adults: study

16 Feb 2018 --- A plant-based diet improves beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with no history of diabetes, according to a new study published in Nutrients by researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Measuring the function of beta cells, which store and release insulin, can help assess future type 2 diabetes risk.

Nutrition & Health News

Ultra-processed foods linked to heightened risk of cancer: major BMJ study

15 Feb 2018 --- Although processed foods have long been thought to be significantly less healthy than non-processed foods, an observational study published yesterday in BMJ has added some stark figures to the link between ultra-processed foods and the risk of cancer. The study concluded that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet is associated with increases of 12 percent in the risk of overall cancer and 11 percent in the risk of breast cancer.

Nutrition & Health News

Plant-based foods could slash a country’s healthcare costs by billions of euros, says study

15 Feb 2018 --- Billions of euros could be saved from a country’s annual healthcare bill over the next years if more people followed a plant-based diet. This is according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition which looked at the health and economic consequences of two plant-based eating patterns, a diet with a daily portion of soy foods and a Mediterranean-style diet.

Nutrition & Health News

Façade? British Nutrition Foundation questions benefit of skin beauty nutraceuticals

14 Feb 2018 --- Although there is a growing market for orally consumed beauty supplements that promise “youthful,” “firm” and “glowing” skin, the evidence to support some of the ingredients used in these popular, and often costly, products is limited. This is according to a review of published research conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). The review concludes that nutraceuticals for skin may not add further benefit to the effects already obtained from a healthy diet. 

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/News-Source-May-Steer-Perceived-Solution-to-Childhood-Obesity.html