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Our girth is plain to see: an analysis of newspaper coverage of Australia's future 'fat bomb'

Holland, Kate E., Blood, R. Warwick, Thomas, Samantha I., Lewis, Sophie, Komesaroff, Paul A. and Castle, David J. 2011, Our girth is plain to see: an analysis of newspaper coverage of Australia's future 'fat bomb', Health, risk and society, vol. 13, no. 1, Special issue : Risk & media - perspectives from risk sociology and media studies, pp. 31-46, doi: 10.1080/13698575.2010.540648.

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Title Our girth is plain to see: an analysis of newspaper coverage of Australia's future 'fat bomb'
Author(s) Holland, Kate E.
Blood, R. Warwick
Thomas, Samantha I.
Lewis, Sophie
Komesaroff, Paul A.
Castle, David J.
Journal name Health, risk and society
Volume number 13
Issue number 1
Season Special issue : Risk & media - perspectives from risk sociology and media studies
Start page 31
End page 46
Total pages 16
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2011
ISSN 1369-8575
1469-8331
Keyword(s) obesity
obesity research
media
news framing
risk
Summary The news media plays an important role in making visible and shaping public understandings of health and health risks. In relation to overweight and obesity, it has been suggested that the media is more likely to engage in alarmist reporting in a climate in which it is taken for granted that obesity is an 'epidemic'. This study analyses Australian media coverage of a report on overweight and obesity, Australia's Future 'Fat Bomb': a report on the long-term consequences of Australia's expanding waistline on cardiovascular disease, by one of Australia's leading health and medical research institutes. Our study found that the report was consistently framed across media outlets as showing that Australia is the 'fattest nation' in the world, having overtaken the Americans. This is despite the fact that the Fat Bomb study did not include international comparisons and was based only on data from middle-aged Australians. Because reports of increasing rates of obesity had already been widely covered in the media, the press needed to find a new way of signifying the problem, which was provided by comments made by its lead author in publicising the report. Consistent with previous research, there was a notable absence of critical commentary on the study and a failure to test the claims of its lead author. We conclude that this reporting could have contributed to a policy environment in which the perceived threat of obesity is deemed to be so great that efforts to contain it may be subjected to less scrutiny than they warrant. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13698575.2010.540648
Field of Research 111708 Health and Community Services
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2011, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30079614

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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