The mass media and other channels for nutrition information.

  • Monika Turner
  • Published 1984 in The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society


It is my brief to provoke discussion on the way the mass media handle nutrition and health information; but also to create a ‘broader perspective’ by referring briefly to other channels of communication, the professions mainly, and ways that eating behaviour and health can be influenced other than by nutrition education. The mass media are made up of a number of enterprises with common and individual characteristics. They include national and regional newspapers, TV and radio and the special-interest magazines dealing, for example, with women’s affairs, health, food, cookery and science. The professional and trade magazines that have a limited circulation are not normally regarded as mass media. I will be making general statements about the mass media, well aware that there are some exceptions to what I say. The mass media are not an extension of the educational system, rather they are in the entertainment business. They are commercial operations whose primary aim is to make money (Turner, 1984). The general public is bombarded with a mass of misleading information about food, nutrition and health. Misconceptions, which are widespread, are reinforced both by the mass media and by others such as the family doctor, relatives or friends. There is a vicious circle of misinformation (Turner, 1980b). Nutrition information is generally distorted, out of perspective, frequently incorrect in factual content and certainly incorrect in the impression created by skilful omissions and juxtaposition of information. In media-reporting there is a lack of objectivity. Information is often selected to support preconceived ideas that reflect the prejudices of the journalist or producer. Such subjective, selective and highly-misleading handling of information is well described in quotations from an established editor, a journalist, and an editorcum-journalist :

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Cite this paper

@article{Turner1984TheMM, title={The mass media and other channels for nutrition information.}, author={Monika Turner}, journal={The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society}, year={1984}, volume={43 2}, pages={211-6} }