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Stigmatizing images in the media - a cross-national survey
journal contributionposted on 2018-12-01, 00:00 authored by Kate SievertKate Sievert, T Lobstein, Phillip BakerPhillip Baker
Images accompanying articles on obesity in the media may contribute to a stigmatizing narrative of personal blame for the condition. We report a pilot study of online newspapers in 15 countries to determine the use of positive and negative imagery used to accompany articles on obesity. We undertook a visual content analysis of images accompanying articles on obesity from the top five newspapers of each country. We then ranked countries according to the ratio of positive to negative imagery used. A total of 195 images were analysed. The majority of images scored negatively (i.e. were likely to be stigmatizing). Media in Hong Kong, South Africa, Italy and Morocco had the highest prevalence of stigmatizing imagery, whereas Japan and New Zealand displayed the lowest. Public media in all the countries surveyed show stigmatizing imagery associated with obesity, but there was variability between countries. As the global prevalence of obesity rises and advocacy groups raise awareness of stigma, we hope for an improvement in the images used in the media.