‘It’s disgusting how much salt you eat!’ Television discourses of obesity, health and morality

Sanna Inthorn, Tammy Boyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing rate of obesity is regarded by most Western societies as a serious public health problem. As the incidence of obesity has risen, so too has media attention. This study analyses 28 primetime programmes solely dedicated to obesity, broadcast on BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five between January and July 2007, and UK government press releases issued in the same period. In the context of debates about obesity and public health, media and government discourse in the UK sustain each other. Health policy in the UK increasingly favours a participative model of health and obesity programmes regard the individual as solely responsible for solving their own obesity. British government policy encourages the public to become knowledgeable about their health and take control of their weight; however the information found in primetime television is unhelpful in improving levels of knowledge. Discourses of health and morality converge, and television uses shame, not knowledge, to encourage people to take action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-100
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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