Medier & fetma : en analys av vikt

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Sociology, Lund University

Sammanfattning: The prevalence of overweight and obesity is rising each year not only on a national but also on a global level. The future scenario is troublesome. The media are among the most important social institutions in influencing people’s knowledge, perceptions and actions. The media provide citizens with health messages and contribute thereby to their health development. This dissertation deals with two questions: (1) How is overweight represented in the media? and (2) Which consequences can these representations have on public perceptions of overweight? A multi-disciplinary approach has been chosen for the study. Theories and concepts are derived from four areas of research: consumption, bodily issues, risks and media & journalism. The aim is to describe, analyze and problemize how overweight is presented quantitatively and qualitatively in the media. The method used is content analysis. The study is limited to media content in Swedish daily newspapers, 1997–2001. In all 1 925 articles from four different papers (Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet, Helsingborgs Dagblad and Västerbottens-kuriren) have been analyzed.

An important conclusion from this study is that overweight as a health risk is underestimated in the studied daily papers, compared to its real proportions. While overweight is first and foremost presented as a health risk, at least when it comes to the sheer number of articles, overweight is almost as often framed as a beauty dilemma. The two perspectives differ very much in presentation and style. Negative stereotypes are reproduced in the material and one noteworthy finding is that the formerly obese contribute to the stigmatization of overweight and obesity. There are also considerable gender dimensions in the coverage. Overweight men and women are portrayed differently, and overweight is mostly presented as a female problem.