Representations of childhood obesity in Australian newsprint media and academic literature
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2011
© 2011 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2011 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 135–139, April 2011
How to Cite
Bastian, A. (2011), Representations of childhood obesity in Australian newsprint media and academic literature. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 35: 135–139. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2011.00660.x
- Issue published online: 5 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2011
- Submitted: April 2010 Revision requested: June 2010 Accepted: August 2010
- public health
Objective: To examine how the issue of childhood obesity is represented in Australian newsprint media and academic literature.
Method: Australian newsprint media coverage and academic literature on childhood obesity during the first three months of 2009 was analysed using Bacchi's method of problem representation.
Results: The two types of literature examined offered two dominant paradigms for childhood obesity treatment and prevention solutions: the individual and the social-structural. The individual behaviour change account emphasises the role of parents in providing children with healthy food and physical activity, placing them at fault for their obese children. The account focusing on the circumstances within which people live – such as the physical environment, lifestyle, socio-economic status, access to services and advertising/marketing of food aimed at children – places responsibility on the government to respond with policy change.
Conclusion: While both the individual and social-structural paradigms are found in each source, newsprint media favours the individual responsibility account while the academic literature favours the social-structural account.
Implications: Public health professionals may need to be more media savvy to shift this focus.