Exploring portrayals of ‘childhood obesity’

Research Team

  • Stuart Flint

  • Becky Smith

Approach and Impact

Centred on the 2016 policy, 'Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action', this study examines the portrayal of childhood obesity in policy, news articles, and public perceptions. The project incorporates policy and news analysis to investigate how the portrayal of childhood obesity may differ in these areas, thus informing an understanding of message shaping.

An online questionnaire was used to gather public perceptions around ‘Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action’, and to measure explicit weight bias among participants. The questionnaire data supports exploration of public perceptions around the need for, efficacy, and benefit of the actions suggested in the policy document. Measurement of weight stigmatising beliefs and collection of demographic descriptors illuminates how different groups understand childhood obesity and related policy. 

This may direct future research and support policy improvement.