Investigating the media power of a population health monitoring survey: case study of the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS)

Espinel, Paola T, Laws, Rachel, Bonfiglioli, Catriona, Hardy, Louise L and King, Lesley 2013, Investigating the media power of a population health monitoring survey: case study of the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS), Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Heatlh, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 284-289.

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Title Investigating the media power of a population health monitoring survey: case study of the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS)
Author(s) Espinel, Paola T
Laws, Rachel
Bonfiglioli, Catriona
Hardy, Louise L
King, Lesley
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Heatlh
Volume number 37
Issue number 3
Start page 284
End page 289
Total pages 6
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1326-0200
1753-6405
Keyword(s) Newspapers
Public health
Advocacy
Obesity
Public opinion
Children
Summary Objective
To examine the extent and nature of news coverage of a government-funded population monitoring survey of children and the potential implications of this coverage for public health advocacy.

Methods
Case study of the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS), a population monitoring survey of school-aged children's weight and weight-related behaviours, conducted in 1997, 2004 and 2010. Printed news items from all Australian newspapers between January 1997 and December 2011 mentioning the survey findings were identified from the Factiva database and a descriptive analysis of the content conducted.

Results
Overall, 144 news items were identified. The news angles focused mainly on physical activity/sedentary behaviour; overweight/obesity and nutrition; however these angles changed between 1997 and 2011, with angles focused on physical activity/sedentary behaviour increasing, compared with overweight/obesity and nutrition angles (p=0.001). Responsibility for obesity and weight-related behaviours was most frequently assigned to parents and food marketing, and the most common solutions were policy strategies and parental/child education and support.

Conclusions
Population health surveys are newsworthy and when coupled with strategic dissemination, media can contribute to communicating health issues and interpreting findings in ways that are relevant for consumers, policy makers and stakeholders.

Implications
This case study emphasises the news value of government-funded population surveys, while providing a cautionary note about media focus on individual studies rather than a larger body of research evidence.
Language eng
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058957

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
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Created: Thu, 12 Dec 2013, 14:14:54 EST by Jane Moschetti

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