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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Causal explanations, media effects, and public opinion on obesity Brooke, Rebecca


A public debate about obesity has emerged in America since this pressing public health issue moved into the political arena. Using survey data, this study showed that attitudes about the causes of obesity, or causal explanations, are central in individuals‘ decision-making on this topic. Public support for the different causal explanations was not influenced by media frames, but rather, public opinion on the causes of obesity is congruent with prominent political values in media coverage. Specifically, an increase in conservative values in media coverage of obesity likely contributed to the public sentiment that ones lifestyle causes obesity. It is suitable to think of the obesity debate in terms of competing causal explanations.

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