Popular Media Representations of Physical Activity Among Mothers

Margaret P. Sanders, Deirdre Dlugonski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose. Many mothers fail to meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity. Popular media magazines targeting mothers provide information about physical activity and health, but little is known about the framing and content of physical activity messages within these sources. The aim of this content analysis was to analyze the framing and content (i.e., benefits, consequences, and sources of self-efficacy) of physical activity messages directed toward mothers in popular magazines. Method. Ten popular magazines were selected for data analysis and coded independently by two researchers in NVivo Version 10.0 for gain- or loss-framed messages, benefits and consequences of physical activity, and sources of self-efficacy. Results. Most of the 164 articles encouraged physical activity by presenting benefits associated with physical activity. These benefits primarily focused on weight loss and fitness gains and few articles used self-efficacy messages to enhance confidence in physical activity participation. Conclusions. It is promising that popular media magazines used gain-framed messages about the benefits of physical activity for mothers. Future research should focus on finding ways of using popular media outlets to promote a more comprehensive set of physical activity benefits, enhance physical activity self-efficacy, and determine the impact of such messages on physical activity participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-690
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © 2016 Society for Public Health Education.


  • health behavior
  • health promotion
  • media
  • print media
  • women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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