High School Journalists Write About Nutrition and Physical Activity

Jeffrey S. Hampl, Donna M. Winham, Christopher Wharton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many content analyses of mass media and health messages have been conducted, but little is known regarding the perceptions of high school students about health-related topics. The authors conducted a content analysis of 218 newspapers collected from 25 Arizona high schools published during the 2003-2004 academic year. Two independent evaluators read each entire newspaper, identified qualifying articles (n = 95), and categorized content by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Evaluators sorted each article’s content into one or more groups reflecting the MyPyramid food categories and tracked article themes related to harms or benefits of lifestyle choices. Articles were also scored regarding information accuracy. Categorizing by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, the most frequently mentioned article topics were “carbohydrates” or “reduced sugars” in foods (55%), “weight management” (53%), and “physical activity” (45%). In all, 15% of articles included some incorrect information in their text. These data show that healthy eating and active lifestyles are important concerns for high school journalism students. Journalism and dietetics professionals should volunteer with high school journalism classes to encourage these interests and to promote greater coverage of nutrition and health issues as well as more accurate reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • adolescents
  • content analysis
  • high school newspapers
  • journalism
  • nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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