Media images may deter women from breast feeding

November 09, 2000

Representing infant feeding: content analysis of British media portrayals of bottle feeding and breast feeding

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Breast and bottle feeding are portrayed very differently in UK mass media and may have a negative impact on women's decisions about breast feeding, according to a study from Brunel University in this week's BMJ.

Bottle feeding was shown on television and in newspapers more frequently than breast feeding and was presented as less problematic. Bottle feeding was associated with "ordinary" families whereas breast feeding was associated with middle class or celebrity women according to an analysis of more than 200 TV and newspaper mentions in March 1999, conducted by Henderson and Kitzinger of the Centre for Communications Research at Brunel.

The authors warn that the health risks of formula milk and the health benefits of breast feeding were rarely mentioned and health professionals should be aware of the potential impact on women's choices about breast versus bottle feeding.
-end-
Contact:

Lesley Henderson, Centre for Media and Communications Research, Department of Human Sciences, Brunel University, London, UK
Tel: 44-0-1895-203-123
Mobile (for Thursday 9 Nov and Friday 10 Nov): 0794 114 8099
Fax: 44-0-1895-203-155 Email: lesley.henderson@brunel.ac.uk

BMJ

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