Media Analysis of Health Issues Essay

Media Analysis of Health Issues Essay

Media Analysis of Health Issues Essay

372-02, Health Communication

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Media Analysis of Health Issues Essay

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Media Analysis of Health Issues

Nutrition is a pressing public health issue affecting millions of people worldwide. Media plays a significant role in shaping public perception and attitudes toward health-related behaviors, including nutrition and physical activity. This analysis aims to compare and contrast the coverage of nutrition in two media sources, an online news article and a television commercial, with information provided on public health websites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization websites. This paper will apply the concepts of media theories, specifically cultivation theory, from Chapter 11 of the book to support this analysis.


Online News Article

The online news discusses the impact of heavy TV advertisement on unhealthy eating, emphasizing how unhealthy eating habits and the overconsumption of non-nutritious foods is linked to health conditions like child obesity. According to Arcan et al. (2019), television and TV advertising significantly influence children’s eating behavior in the United States. Children spend considerable time watching TV, with those aged 2 to 12 exposed to an average of 38 minutes of advertising daily, half of which is food related. This exposure, especially to unhealthy food marketing, has been linked to increased preferences for less nutritious foods, contributing to poor dietary habits. TV viewing is associated with unhealthy food consumption among children, and there is strong evidence that TV advertising affects children’s food preferences and diets, particularly in those under 12 years old. While there is no direct link between TV advertising and obesity, fast food advertising has been connected to higher body mass index. The news article calls for stricter policies and better protection for children and youth from unhealthy food marketing.

Television Commercial

The television commercial promotes fast food and unhealthy eating habits through its content. The commercial television repeatedly showcases appetizing yet nutritionally deficient food options, such as burgers, fries, and sugary beverages, in a visually enticing manner. These advertisements create an appealing and desirable image of these products. The indirect influence of this television commercial on viewers is in line with cultivation theory, as it consistently presents fast food as a socially acceptable and desirable choice (Athena, 2019). By featuring these unhealthy options attractively, commercial television contributes to the normalization of poor dietary choices. It indirectly fosters behaviors associated with nutrition-related conditions like obesity by promoting overconsumption of unhealthy food. The primary purpose of this television commercial is to market and promote fast food products. It aims to create a positive association with these foods, making them appear appealing and tempting to viewers, thus playing a significant role in shaping public perception and behaviors related to nutrition and health.

Comparison to Public Health Information

When comparing the media sources to information found on the public health website, some key differences and similarities become apparent. The public health websites provide comprehensive data on nutrition. It also offers resources for individuals and communities to address the issue of nutritional imbalance. According to CDC (2020), nutrition plays a crucial role in overall health and well-being. Several factors, including dietary choices, genetic predispositions, socioeconomic conditions, and cultural norms influence it. Poor nutrition, which includes excessive consumption of processed foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats, can lead to a range of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and nutrient deficiencies. According to the World Health Organization (2019), people should aim for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to prevent these adverse health outcomes. Education on nutrition, promoting access to affordable fresh foods, and implementing policies that encourage healthier eating habits are essential strategies to combat the widespread issue of inadequate nutrition and its associated health risks.

The primary similarity between the media sources and the information from public health websites like CDC and WHO is the recognition of the impact of advertising on eating habits and nutrition knowledge, especially among young people. Both the media sources and the public health websites acknowledge that advertising can contribute to unhealthy eating choices, particularly in those exposed to a high volume of media content. When assessing the media sources in comparison to information available on the public health website regarding nutrition, several significant distinctions and parallels emerge. The public health websites serve as a repository of comprehensive information pertaining to nutrition, along with offering resources to guide individuals and communities in tackling this issue.

A primary similarity between the media sources and the public health websites’ data lies in their acknowledgment of the role of advertising in shaping eating habits and nutrition awareness, with particular emphasis on its impact on young people. Both the media sources and the website recognize the influential capacity of advertising in influencing unhealthy dietary choices, particularly in individuals who are exposed to a substantial volume of media content (World Health Organization, 2020). This shared recognition underscores the critical understanding that the media and advertising industries play a significant role in shaping societal perceptions and behaviors related to nutrition, especially among the younger population. While the media sources may present this issue from various angles and perspectives, the public health websites’ data serves as a reputable and evidence-based source, lending credence to the importance of addressing the influence of advertising on dietary choices as a critical component in public health efforts to combat poor nutrition.

Applying Cultivation Theory

Cultivation theory, as discussed in Chapter 11 of the book, suggests that media exposure can shape individuals’ attitudes and expectations about the world (Athena du Pré, 2019). Both media sources indirectly cultivate unhealthy eating habits by repeatedly displaying and normalizing unhealthy food choices. They contribute to the perception that fast food is a common and acceptable dietary option, especially among young audiences. The media sources, through their constant portrayal of fast food and unhealthy eating, contribute to the cultivation of beliefs that affect nutrition and health behaviors. Heavy TV viewers, particularly children and adolescents with limited personal experience, may be more susceptible to these messages as they have fewer opportunities for comparison.

Overall Impression

The media sources analyzed align with cultivation theory, demonstrating how they can influence individuals’ attitudes and behaviors regarding nutrition and health. While both media sources acknowledge the role of advertising in shaping these behaviors, they fail to provide a comprehensive solution to the obesity issue. In contrast, public health websites offer a more balanced perspective with evidence-based information and strategies for addressing nutrition-related issues.


This analysis highlights the significant influence of media sources, such as online news articles and television commercials, in shaping public perceptions and behaviors related to nutrition. By applying cultivation theory, we can understand how repeated exposure to specific messages can lead to the normalization of unhealthy behaviors. Public health websites like the CDC and WHO play a vital role in providing evidence-based information and strategies to counteract these media-driven influences and combat nutritional issues. As individuals, we must be aware of the potential impact of media messages on our health-related decisions and work to foster media literacy to make more informed choices.



Arcan, C., Bruening, M., & Story, M. (2019). Child nutrition | Television (TV) and TV advertisement influences on children’s eating behavior. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Athena du Pré. (2019). Communicating about health: Current issues and perspectives: 9780190275686: Medicine & health science books @

CDC. (2020, June 16). Poor nutrition | CDC.

World Health Organization. (2019, October 11). Nutrition.; World Health Organization: WHO.

Instructor feedback


This is a great start! In the paper, please be sure to specifically reference your sources. Where was the online news article from? Which fast food advertisement did you watch? Which specific examples from the commercial makes the foods seem appealing, etc. and then apply the book concepts to what you are seeing.


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