The 2017 prevalence of obesity among children (age 5–17 years) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is 13.68%. Childhood obesity is one of the 10 top health priorities in the UAE. This study examines the quality, frequency, sources, scope and framing of childhood obesity in popular social media and three leading UAE newspapers from 2014 to 2017. During the review period, 152 newspaper articles from three leading national newspapers – Gulf News, The National and Al Ittihad – met the eligibility criteria for this study. There were 57 Facebook posts, 50 Twitter posts, 14 posted YouTube videos, and 13 Media releases on related to childhood obesity between 2014 and 2017. Childhood obesity was consistently problematized, primarily in health terms, but was not strongly linked to socio-economic and geographical factors. Childhood obesity was framed as being predominantly influenced by individual and parental behaviours more frequently (n = 76) compared with structural or environmental factors such as the roles of the food and beverage industry (n = 22). Unlike findings from studies with adult obesity, articles advocating individual behavior changes to address childhood obesity were relatively few (n = 29). Social media may be an effective way to help children overcome obesity, in part through online interaction with health care providers and health conscious obese peers. Areas for improvement in social media use to reduce childhood obesity prevalence in UAE include enhancing public engagement with social media posts on childhood obesity, as reflected in the numbers of Likes and Retweets or Shares.
Sahoo K, Sahoo B, Choudhury AK., Sofi NY, Kumar, R, Bhadoria, AS. Childhood obesity: causes and consequences. J Family Med Prim Care. 2015;4(2):187-192. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.154628
Ajala O, Mold F, Boughton C, Cooke D, Whyte M. Childhood predictors of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Obes Rev. 2017;18:1061-1070.
Finkelstein EA, Graham WCK, Malhotra R. Lifetime direct medical costs of childhood obesity. Pediatrics, 2014;133:854-862; doi:10.1542/peds.2014-0063
Mihrshah S, Drayton BA, Bauman AE, Hardy LL. Associations between childhood overweight, obesity, abdominal obesity and obesogenic behaviors and practices in Australian homes. BMC Public Health. 2017;18:44. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4595-y
Li JS, Barnett TA, Goodman E, Wasserman RC, Kemper AR. Approaches to the prevention and management of childhood obesity: the role of social networks and the use of social media and related electronic technologies: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013;2013;127:260-267. doi:10.1161/CIR.0b013e3182756d8e
Watkins F, Jones C. Reducing adult obesity in childhood: Parental influence on the food choices of children. Health Educ J. 2015;74:473-484.
Amuta AO, Jacobs W, Mkuu RS, Espinoza LE, Barry AE, McKyer LJ. (2017). Parent-Child Joint Decision Making on Food Choices and Children’s Fruits and Vegetable Consumption. Health Behav Policy Rev. 2017;4:521-530.
Flint SW, Hudson J, Lavallee D. The portrayal of obesity in U.K. national newspapers. Stigma Health. 2016;1(1):16-28. doi:10.1037/sah0000013
Frederick DA, Saguy AC, Gruys K. Culture, health, and bigotry: How exposure to cultural accounts of fatness shape attitudes about health risk, health policies, and weight-based prejudice. Soc Sci Med. 2015;165:271-279. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.12.031
Frederick DA, Saguy AC, Sandhu G, Mann T. Effects of competing news media frames of weight on antifat stigma, beliefs about weight and support for obesity-related public policies. Int J Obes. 2016;40:543-549. doi:10.1038/ijo.2015.195
Ashrafian H, Toma T, Harling L, Kerr K, Athanasiou T, Darzi A. Social networking strategies that aim to reduce obesity have achieved significant although modest results. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014;33(9):1641-1647. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0370
Allison EP, Small M, Birch LL. A call for research exploring social media influences on mothers’ child feeding practices and childhood obesity risk. Appetite. 2016;99:298-305. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.01.003
Gaber HR, Wright LT. Fast-food advertising in social media. A case study on Facebook in Egypt. Journal of Business and Retail Management Research. 2014;9:52-63.
Stukker T. Influence of surreptitious advertising in vlogs on the purchase intention of soft drinks. BSc Consumer Studies thesis. University of Wageningen; 2017. http://edepot.wur.nl/429955. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Jordan AB, Kramer-Golinkoff EK, Strasburger VC. Does adolescent media use cause obesity and eating disorders? Adolesc Med. 2008;19:431-449.
Mazur A, Caroli M, Radziewicz-Winnicki I, et al. Reviewing and addressing the link between mass media and the increase in obesity among European children: The European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP) and The European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) consensus statement. Acta Paediatr. 2018;107(4):568-576. doi: 10.1111/apa.14136
Katsaiti M and Anshasy AA. On the determinants of obesity: evidence from the UAE. Appl Econ. 2014;46(30):3649-3658. doi:10.1080/00036846.2014.934431
Hammad SS, Berry DC. The Child Obesity Epidemic in Saudi Arabia: A Review of the Literature. J Transcult Nurs. 2017;28:505-515.
Alrashidi M, Shahwan-Akl L, James J, Jones LK. Contributing factors to childhood overweight and obesity in Kuwait. Int J Health Sci. 2015;3:133-155. doi:10.15640/ijhs.v3n1a8
Scheufele DA, Tewksbury D. Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models. J Commun. 2007;57:9-20. doi:10.1111/j.0021-9916.2007.00326.x
Finlay SJ, Faulkner G. Physical activity promotion through the mass media: inception, production, transmission and consumption. Prev Med. 2005;40:121-130. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.04.018
Kininmonth AR, Jamil N, Almatrouk N, Evans CE. Quality assessment of nutrition coverage in the media: a 6-week survey of five popular UK newspapers. BMJ Open. 2017;7:e014633. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014633
Robinson A, Coutinho A, Bryden A, McKee M. Analysis of health stories in daily newspapers in the UK. Public Health. 2013;127(1):39-45. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2012.10.001
Wakefield MA, Loken B, Hornik RC. Use of mass media campaigns to change health behaviour. Lancet, 2010;376(9748): 1261-1271.
Kininmonth AR, Jamil N, Almatrouk N, Evans CEL. Quality assessment of nutrition coverage in the media: a 6-week survey of five popular UK newspapers. BMJ Open. 2017;7(12):e014633. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014633
Cooper BE, Lee WE , Goldacre BM, Sanders AB. The quality of the evidence for dietary advice given in UK national newspapers. Public Underst Sci. 2016;21:664–673. doi:10.1177/0963662511401782
Altheide D, Schneider C. Qualitative media analysis. London: SAGE Publications Ltd; 2013. doi:10.4135/9781452270043
Bacci C. Introducing the ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be?’ approach. In; Bletsas A, Beasley C, eds. Engaging With Carol Bacci: Strategic Interventions and Exchanges. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press; 2012. doi:10.1017/9780987171856
Islam S, Fitzgerald L. Indigenous obesity in the news: a media analysis of news representation of obesity in Australia’s Indigenous population. Obes Res. 2016;3:30. doi: 10.1186/s40608-016-0109-1
Hilton S, Patterson C, Teyhan A. Escalating coverage of obesity in UK newspapers: the evolution and framing of the “obesity epidemic” from 1996 to 2010. Obesity. 2012;20:1688-1699. doi:10.1038/oby.2012.27
Zamah S. Abu Dhabi aims to reduce children’s BMI by 15%. Gulf News Website. http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/abu-dhabi-aims-to-reduce-children-s-bmi-by-15-1.2138447. Updated December 10, 2017. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Finland curbs childhood obesity by integrating health in all policies. World Health Organization website. http://www.who.int/features/2015/finland-health-in-all-policies/en/. Updated October 2015. Accessed March 2, 2018.
Wu H, Coleman R. Advancing agenda-setting theory: the comparative strength and new contingent conditions of the two levels of agenda-setting effects. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 2009;86(4):776. Doi:10.1177/107769900908600404
Swinburn BA. Obesity prevention: the role of policies, laws and regulations. Australia and New Zealand Health Policy. 2008;5:12. doi:10.1186/1743-8462-5-12
51. Rai A, Raya AR, Hajjar M, Koshy S. Public opinion and Agenda Setting in the UAE National News: A quantitative content analysis. Humanities and Social Sciences Review. 2017;7:273-286.
Parlińska A, Rembielak G. Comparison of approaches to reduce and prevent from children obesity within the context of UK and Poland. Oeconomia. 2014;13(4):135-146.
Croker H, Lucas R, Wardle J. Cluster-randomised trial to evaluate the ‘Change for Life’ mass media/ social marketing campaign in the UK. BMC Public Health 2012;12:404. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-404
Garduño-Diaz SD, Garduño-Diaz PY. Components of an Obesogenic Environment in Kuwait. J Nutr Therap. 2014;3:35-46. doi:10.6000/1929-5634.2014.03.02.1
Awofeso, N., Al Imam, S., & Ahmed, A. (2019). Content Analysis of Media Coverage of Childhood Obesity Topics in UAE Newspapers and Popular Social Media Platforms, 2014-2017. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 8(2), 81-89. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2018.100
Niyi Awofeso; Sara Al Imam; Arwa Ahmed. "Content Analysis of Media Coverage of Childhood Obesity Topics in UAE Newspapers and Popular Social Media Platforms, 2014-2017". International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 8, 2, 2019, 81-89. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2018.100
Awofeso, N., Al Imam, S., Ahmed, A. (2019). 'Content Analysis of Media Coverage of Childhood Obesity Topics in UAE Newspapers and Popular Social Media Platforms, 2014-2017', International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 8(2), pp. 81-89. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2018.100
Awofeso, N., Al Imam, S., Ahmed, A. Content Analysis of Media Coverage of Childhood Obesity Topics in UAE Newspapers and Popular Social Media Platforms, 2014-2017. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 2019; 8(2): 81-89. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2018.100