Communication & Medicine, Vol 8, No 1 (2011)

What to Eat in the Land of Cheese and Chocolate: A Content Analysis of Swiss Print Media Messages on a Healthy Diet

Peter J. Schulz, Uwe Hartung
Issued Date: 8 Nov 2011


This paper describes a specific coding scheme for measuring health-related media content on the level of single assertions and in relative complexity. The basic idea is to code messages into an if-part (nutrition, physical activity, body weight) and a then-part (weight and health). Detailed codeplans can then be used to determine the specific nature of the if- and then-parts of an assertion. An exemplary analysis of Swiss-German newspaper and magazine messages between March 1, 2003 and June 30, 2005 provides evidence of recommendations that are more or less in line with official suggestions for a healthy diet: Newspapers and magazines tell their readers to eat vegetables, fruit, grain and cereal products, dairy products, and to care about vitamin and minerals intake. They also advise to stay away from tobacco, alcohol, fast food, sugar, and animal fat. Results are interpreted as evidence for the existence of a rather good source for diet information in print media, which is, however, very likely to be counteracted by other media content.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v8i1.99


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