BACKGROUND: Obesity-promoting content and weight-stigmatizing messages are common in child-directed television programming and advertisements, and 1 study found similar trends in G- and PG-rated movies from 2006 to 2010. Our objective was to examine the prevalence of such content in more recent popular children’s movies.
METHODS: Raters examined 31 top-grossing G- and PG-rated movies released from 2012 to 2015. For each 10-minute segment (N = 302) and for movies as units, raters documented the presence of eating-, activity-, and weight-related content observed on-screen. To assess interrater reliability, 10 movies (32%) were coded by more than 1 rater.
RESULTS: The result of Cohen’s κ test of agreement among 3 raters was 0.65 for binary responses (good agreement). All 31 movies included obesity-promoting content; most common were unhealthy foods (87% of movies, 42% of segments), exaggerated portion sizes (71%, 29%), screen use (68%, 38%), and sugar-sweetened beverages (61%, 24%). Weight-based stigma, such as a verbal insult about body size or weight, was observed in 84% of movies and 30% of segments.
CONCLUSIONS: Children’s movies include much obesogenic and weight-stigmatizing content. These messages are not shown in isolated incidences; rather, they often appear on-screen multiple times throughout the entire movie. Future research should explore these trends over time, and their effects.
- Accepted September 18, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics