Objectives: The media is a substantial vehicle for conveying public health messages to the public. This study examined the extent to which the publication of special issues in a high-impact medical journal in 2012 and 2016 generated media interest in physical activity and health in the UK and explored the main issues that were reported. Study design: This is a systematic narrative review of print media. Methods: Relevant print news articles were identified by searching Factiva and Google News. The timeframe of each search was 2 weeks, using the publication date of each special issue as the anchor point. Overall, 20 articles were included in the analysis for 2012 and 37 articles for 2016. Results: The news media coverage was encouraging for the profile of physical activity and health. In 2012 and 2016, common themes included the benefits of physical activity and the risks of being inactive, comparisons between mortality rates from physical inactivity and smoking and the recommended volume of physical activity to benefit health. Conclusions: The profile given to an issue through prestigious scientific publication is one of the levers for community attention and policy change. Efforts are needed to further use the media for improving policy, practice and public awareness, which are antecedents to population health change.
- Content analysis
- Physical activity