U.S. newspaper articles published between 2005 and 2006 mostly ignored environmental factors, such as socioeconomic status and food access, as causes of type 2 diabetes. The most frequently mentioned causes were behavioral factors like diet and exercise.
The information that the news media provides when reporting a public health issue frames that issue for the general public. If the news media emphasizes one cause of type 2 diabetes, the public is likely to believe that to be the main cause. This study was a quantitative assessment of print media coverage of type 2 diabetes in 2005 and 2006. The authors searched LexisNexis for articles written about type 2 diabetes. Coded categories for the subject matter of each article helped determine the article’s slant.
News media coverage of diabetes shapes public perception of the disease. This study found that newspaper articles published between 2005 and 2006 framed type 2 diabetes as the result of behavioral, rather than social, factors.