Nature, nurture, or that fast food hamburger: media framing of diabetes in the New York Times from 2000 to 2010

Health Commun. 2013;28(4):351-8. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2012.688187. Epub 2012 Jul 2.


Diabetes is a growing yet misunderstood health concern in the United States. This study examined the ways in which diabetes has been framed by the New York Times over the past decade. The public's perception of the causes and solutions to complex problems such as diabetes has significant implications for the way public policy interventions are viewed; therefore, understanding how diabetes is being framed in the media can be an important first step in shifting public opinion about ways to combat the disease. A content analysis of 239 articles published in the New York Times between 2000 and 2010 revealed that nearly one-third of articles failed to differentiate between type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, which may cause confusion given substantial differences in the root cause and treatment of each. An examination of frames used within each type of diabetes showed that the overall dominant frame across types was either a medical frame or a behavioral frame, with deficient use of a societal frame. The limited use of societal-level framing may make it difficult for the public to see the wider consequences of diabetes and decreases the likelihood of public support for policy solutions to combat the disease.

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology
  • Fast Foods
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Newspapers as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Public Opinion*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors