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Joe Piggin, Steven J. Jackson and Malcolm Lewis

In this article we use Foucault’s conception of games of truth to investigate how truth in public policy is rhetorically constructed through the notion of “transparency.” Data was collected from various public sources regarding a medal target policy promoted by Sport and Recreation New Zealand (Sparc) for the national team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. By analyzing the multifarious rhetoric surrounding the medal target policy, we show that the notion of transparency, although ostensibly appealing and helpful as a mechanism to justify goals, exposes inherent contradictions that were counter to Sparc’s goals. The discussion encourages scholars and practitioners to conceive of policy as ongoing contests over truth. We suggest that practitioners might benefit from considering the problematic implications of promoting “transparent” public policy.

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Emily Knox, Stuart Biddle, Dale W. Esliger, Joe Piggin and Lauren Sherar

Background:

Mass media campaigns are an important tool for promoting health-related physical activity. The relevance of sedentary behavior to public health has propelled it to feature prominently in health campaigns across the world. This study explored the use of messages regarding sedentary behavior in health campaigns within the context of current debates surrounding the association between sedentary behavior and health, and messaging strategies to promote moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Methods:

A web-based search of major campaigns in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia was performed to identify the main campaign from each country. A directed content analysis was then conducted to analyze the inclusion of messages regarding sedentary behavior in health campaigns and to elucidate key themes. Important areas for future research were illustrated.

Results:

Four key themes from the campaigns emerged: clinging to sedentary behavior guidelines, advocating reducing sedentary behavior as a first step on the activity continuum and the importance of light activity, confusing the promotion of MVPA, and the demonization of sedentary behavior.

Conclusions:

Strategies for managing sedentary behavior as an additional complicating factor in health promotion are urgently required. Lessons learned from previous health communication campaigns should stimulate research to inform future messaging strategies.