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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The past two decades have seen an explosion of research on “fat frames.” Scholars have found that medical researchers and the pharmaceutical industry have dominated such debates, whereas fat rights activists have struggled to get their message out. Media scholars have found that the news media primarily frame fatness as a medical problem and public health crisis that people bring on themselves through poor food choices and physical inactivity. In contrast, the news media rarely discuss fatness as a form of diversity or condemn weight-based discrimination. Research has further shown that the news media emphasize individual blame and responsibility for “overweight” and “obesity.” Finally, experimental research has shown that people who read news media reports on an “obesity epidemic” caused by poor individual choices express more anti-fat prejudice than people who do not read such reports. This chapter examines the methodology and major findings of these strands of research and identifies fertile avenues of future research.

Keywords: framing, news media, blame, fatness, obesity, embodiment, mixed methods, textual analysis, in-depth interviewing, ethnography

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