The emergence and portrayal of obesity in The Irish Times: content analysis of obesity coverage, 1997-2009
A. De Brún; K. McKenzie; M. McCarthy; A. McGloin
Year of publication
Both global obesity prevalence rates and media attention to obesity have increased significantly in recent years. The current study examined the representation of obesity in The Irish Times, from 1997 to 2009. A quantitative content analysis was conducted on 479 articles to examine how the causes, consequences, and solutions to obesity have been portrayed and how obesity has been described. A frame analysis was also conducted to examine the dominant frames over time. It was found that attention to obesity was positively correlated with time, indicating coverage has increased significantly over the period examined. Regarding reported causes and solutions, the behavioral frame has been dominant, though environmental and mixed-frame stories have become more frequent. The presence of the genetic frame was consistently low. The study provides an overview of how the issue is being represented in Ireland's paper of record and informs health communicators of the dominant and trending messages and the implications for individuals' formation of illness representations.