Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 73–90

Newspaper reporting on legislative and policy interventions to address obesity: United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom

Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2010.39

Cite this article as:
Ries, N., Rachul, C. & Caulfield, T. J Public Health Pol (2011) 32: 73. doi:10.1057/jphp.2010.39


This article analyzes the content of articles in major newspapers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom that discuss legislative and policy measures to control obesity. The aim was to identify and compare measures that attract media attention in the three jurisdictions: the tone of print media coverage, the characterization of obesity, and attitudes toward government interventions to address obesity. We collected 360 articles published between January 1989 and April 2009 in 12 major newspapers: 83 were published in the United States, 85 in Canada, and 192 in the United Kingdom. Articles in the three jurisdictions discussed the nature and causes of obesity in similar terms, but revealed differences in attitudes toward obesity and toward legal and policy interventions to control rising obesity rates. Obesity is reported principally as a lifestyle problem, but articles state (in varying proportions) that individuals, governments, and industry all share a role in addressing modern environments to promote healthier choices.


obesity public policy media government 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nola M Ries
    • 1
  • Christen Rachul
    • 1
  • Timothy Caulfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Law Institute, 4th Floor, Law Centre, University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada