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Representations of the health value of vitamin D supplementation in newspapers and magazines: Media content analysis Open Access

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Author or creator
Caulfield, Timothy
Clark, Marianne
McCormack, James P.
Rachul, Christen
Field, Catherine J.
Additional contributors
Subject/Keyword
Prevention
Cancer
Us Adults
News
Trial
Information
Metaanalysis
Outcomes
Dietary-Supplements
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Language
English
Place
Time
Description
Objective To examine the nature of media coverage of vitamin D in relation to its role in health and the need for supplements. Design Media content analysis. Setting Print articles from elite newspapers in the UK, the USA and Canada. Participants 294 print newspaper articles appearing over 5 years (2009–2014). Results Newspaper coverage of vitamin D generally supported supplementation. The most common framing of vitamin D in print articles was “adequate vitamin D is necessary for good health.” Articles also framed vitamin D as difficult to obtain from food supply and framed vitamin D deficiency as a widespread concern. In discussions of supplementation, 80% articles suggested supplementation is or may be necessary for the general population, yet almost none of the articles discussed the potential harms of vitamin D supplementation in any detail. Print articles named 40 different health conditions in relationship to vitamin D. The most commonly cited conditions included bone health, cancer and cardiovascular health. Although print articles referred to a wide range of scholarly research on vitamin D with varying degrees of endorsement for supplementation, a general tone of support for vitamin D supplementation in media coverage persisted. Conclusions Newspaper articles conveyed overall support for vitamin D supplementation. News articles linked vitamin D to a wide range of health conditions for which there is no conclusive scientific evidence. Media coverage downplayed the limitations of existing science and overlooked any potential risks associated with supplementation.
Date created
2014
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3M32NQ0H
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Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Citation for previous publication
Caulfield, T., Clark, M., McCormack, J. P., Rachul, C., & Field, C. J. (2014). Representations of the health value of vitamin D supplementation in newspapers and magazines: Media content analysis. BMJ Open, 4(12), e006395 [8 pages].  http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006395

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File title: Representations of the health value of vitamin D supplementation in newspapers: media content analysis
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