Get the News on Physical Activity Research: A Content Analysis of Physical Activity Research in the Canadian Print Media

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

News media may play a critical role in disseminating research about physical activity and health. This study examined how much physical activity research gets reported in the media and its prominence and credibility.

Methods:

A content analysis was conducted of the reporting of physical activity research in Canadian national and local newspapers from November 2004 to April 2005.

Results:

Physical activity research was given some prominence and treated as news through the use of several devices to infer credibility. However, newspapers appeared to invest little in the production of physical activity research as news and information about research methodology was infrequent.

Conclusions:

While stories reporting physical activity research were given some prominence and credibility, the lack of significant investment and the limited reporting on research methodology suggests that important aspects of research related to physical activity may not be well represented in newspaper coverage.

Faulkner and Roy are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 2W6. Finlay is with the Centre for Media and Visual Culture, University of Toronto at Mississauga, North Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6.