Message framing in the context of the national menu-labelling policy: A comparison of public health and private industry interests

Rachel C. Shelton, James Colgrove, Grace Lee, Michelle Truong, Gina M. Wingood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective We conducted a content analysis of public comments to understand the key framing approaches used by private industry v. public health sector, with the goal of informing future public health messaging, framing and advocacy in the context of policy making. Design Comments to the proposed menu-labelling policy were extracted from Regulations.gov and analysed. A framing matrix was used to organize and code key devices and themes. Documents were analysed using content analysis with Dedoose software. Setting Recent national nutrition-labelling regulations in the USA provide a timely opportunity to understand message framing in relation to obesity prevention and policy. Subjects We examined a total of ninety-seven documents submitted on behalf of organizations (private industry, n 64; public health, n 33). Results Public health focused on positive health consequences of the policy, used a social justice frame and supported its arguments with academic data. Industry was more critical of the policy; it used a market justice frame that emphasized minimal regulation, depicted its members as small, family-run businesses, and illustrated points with humanizing examples. Conclusions Public health framing should counter and consider engaging directly with non-health-related arguments made by industry. Public health should include more powerful framing devices to convey their messages, including metaphors and humanizing examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-823
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Message framing
  • Obesity
  • Policy

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