Same Old Song and Dance: an exploratory study of portrayal of physical activity in television programmes aimed at young adolescents

Heather O'Reilly-Duff, Paul Best, Mark A Tully

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
159 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective: Exposure to health-related behaviours on television has been shown to influence smoking and drinking in young people, but little research has been conducted on the portrayal physical activity. The aim of the current project was to explore the portrayal of physical activity in television programmes aimed specifically at adolescent females. Content analysis of 120 episodes of four popular adolescent television programmes was performed. Information on the type and context of physical activity, motivating factors and characters involved was recorded.

Results: Physical activity was portrayed 122 times, for a duration of 1 hour and 31 minutes (3.2% of total viewing time). Physical activity was mainly portrayed as part of an informal activity as part of a group activity. Over half (53.2%) of scenes portrayed activity been carried out by teenagers. The types of activities portrayed were mostly of vigorous intensity (76.2%), for recreational purposes (78.7%) such as dancing (54.1%) and running (11.5%), and motivated by enjoyment. This study highlights that physical activity is portrayed infrequently, and often with a skewed representation of type of activity. There may be an opportunity to influence physical activity in female adolescents through the positioning of positive images of an active lifestyle in the media.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Research Notes
Volume11
Issue number458
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018

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