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High School Journalists Write About Nutrition and Physical Activity
Childhood Obesity and Nutrition (2012)
  • Jeffrey S. Hampl, Arizona State University
  • Donna M. Winham, Arizona State University
  • Christopher M. Wharton, Arizona State University
Many content analyses of mass media and health messages have been conducted, but little is known regarding the perceptions of high school students about health-related topics. The authors conducted a content analysis of 218 newspapers collected from 25 Arizona high schools published during the 2003-2004 academic year. Two independent evaluators read each entire newspaper, identified qualifying articles (n = 95), and categorized content by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Evaluators sorted each article’s content into one or more groups reflecting the MyPyramid food categories and tracked article themes related to harms or benefits of lifestyle choices. Articles were also scored regarding information accuracy. Categorizing by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, the most frequently mentioned article topics were “carbohydrates” or “reduced sugars” in foods (55%), “weight management” (53%), and “physical activity” (45%). In all, 15% of articles included some incorrect information in their text. These data show that healthy eating and active lifestyles are important concerns for high school journalism students. Journalism and dietetics professionals should volunteer with high school journalism classes to encourage these interests and to promote greater coverage of nutrition and health issues as well as more accurate reporting.
  • adolescents,
  • nutrition,
  • high school newspapers,
  • content analysis,
  • journalism
Publication Date
April 1, 2012
Publisher Statement
Copyright © 2012 The Author(s) 
Citation Information
Jeffrey S. Hampl, Donna M. Winham and Christopher M. Wharton. "High School Journalists Write About Nutrition and Physical Activity" Childhood Obesity and Nutrition Vol. 4 Iss. 2 (2012) p. 93 - 100
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