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Representing infant feeding: content analysis of British media portrayals of bottle feeding and breast feeding

Henderson, L., Kitzinger, Jenny ORCID: and Green, J. 2000. Representing infant feeding: content analysis of British media portrayals of bottle feeding and breast feeding. British Medical Journal 321 (7270) , pp. 1196-1198. 10.1136/bmj.321.7270.1196

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Objective: To examine how breast feeding and bottle feeding are represented by the British media. Design: Content analysis. Subjects: Television programmes and newspaper articles that made reference to infant feeding during March 1999. Setting: UK mass media. Main outcome measures: Visual and verbal references to breast or bottle feeding in newspapers and television programmes. Results: Overall, 235 references to infant feeding were identified in the television sample and 38 in the newspaper sample. Bottle feeding was shown more often than breast feeding and was presented as less problematic. Bottle feeding was associated with “ordinary” families whereas breast feeding was associated with middle class or celebrity women. The health risks of formula milk and the health benefits of breast feeding were rarely mentioned. Conclusions: The media rarely present positive information on breast feeding, even though this feeding practice is associated with the most health benefits. Health professionals and policy makers should be aware of patterns in media coverage and the cultural background within which women make decisions about infant feeding.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Additional Information: Correction at 'In reference 2 in this paper by Lesley Henderson and colleagues (11 November, pp 1196-8) the year, volume, and page numbers were wrong. The reference should read "Begg N, Ramsay M, White J, Bozoky Z. Media dents confidence in MMR vaccine. BMJ 1998;316:561."' Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 26/02/2014)
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 0267-0623
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 14:50

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