Pass the popcorn: "obesogenic" behaviors and stigma in children's movies.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of obesity-related behaviors and attitudes in children's movies. METHODS: A mixed-methods study of the top-grossing G- and PG-rated movies, 2006-2010 (4 per year) was performed. For each 10-min movie segment, the following were assessed: 1) prevalence of key nutrition and physical activity behaviors corresponding to the American Academy of Pediatrics obesity prevention recommendations for families; 2) prevalence of weight stigma; 3) assessment as healthy, unhealthy, or neutral; 3) free-text interpretations of stigma. RESULTS: Agreement between coders was >85% (Cohen's kappa = 0.7), good for binary responses. Segments with food depicted: exaggerated portion size (26%); unhealthy snacks (51%); sugar-sweetened beverages (19%). Screen time was also prevalent (40% of movies showed television; 35% computer; 20% video games). Unhealthy segments outnumbered healthy segments 2:1. Most (70%) of the movies included weight-related stigmatizing content (e.g., "That fat butt! Flabby arms! And this ridiculous belly!"). CONCLUSIONS: These popular children's movies had significant "obesogenic" content, and most contained weight-based stigma. They present a mixed message to children, promoting unhealthy behaviors while stigmatizing the behaviors' possible effects. Further research is needed to determine the effects of such messages on children.
Throop, EM; Skinner, AC; Perrin, AJ; Steiner, MJ; Odulana, A; Perrin, EM
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