Community Health

community health

Social, physical, political and economic environments – which vary widely from town to town and even from neighborhood to neighborhood – have a strong effect on the health not only of individuals, but of entire communities, and the country as a whole.  How do Americans think about health, and particularly, about food and fitness?  Can we shift the conversation by using values and models that support an environmental perspective on community health?

Our Funders:

This project was generously supported by The California Endowment and the WK Kellogg Food and Fitness Initiative

Research & Recommendations

A comprehensive strategic message memo, Framing Community Health as if Food and Fitness Mattered (2008), which synthesizes our research findings and recommends strategies to communicate more effectively about community health issues, particularly food and fitness.

How to Talk About Food and Fitness (2008).  This Message Brief distills the research findings and framing strategies explained in the Message Memo, and offers a summary of key communications strategies on the issue.

Framing Healthy Communities: Strategic Communications and the Social Determinants of Health (2008).  Details the results of experiments conducted as part of a larger study of health communications research funded by The California Endowment and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.  This study aims to understand and produce better ways to engage the public in thinking about health outcomes as a result of social and environmental factors.

Discussing Public Environments in the Community: A Focus Group Report about Nutrition and Physical Activity (2007).  This report recounts findings from focus groups conducted for the FrameWorks Institute as part of a multi-method investigation into how Americans think about community and societal determinants of health, especially those affecting the availability of healthy food and spaces for physical activity.

Calories Not Communities: A Media Content Analysis of Food and Fitness News (2007) is a media content analyses to identify the common frames used in the news to communicate issues related to food and physical activity.

A Systemic View of Food and Fitness: Findings from Explanatory Metaphors Research (2007).  In this report, researchers share the results of testing explanatory metaphors candidates for Food and Fitness. Obstacles for communications on this issue are examined and successful models are recommended.

Implications of the Consumer Frame for Food and Fitness (2007).  A second content analysis, conducted from the perspective of cognitive linguistics, was undertaken to speculate on the probable impact on public understanding of common tropes employed in the media, including both texts and images, advertising and reporting.

Fitness as a Personal Ideal: Findings from Cognitive Elicitations in Colorado and Chicago (2006) reports on additional cognitive interviews conducted in Colorado and Chicago to further test and refine our understanding of the way thinking about food and fitness defaults to individual lifestyle.

Civic Wellbeing: An Analysis of Qualitative Research Among California Residents (2006) is a report of focus groups conducted to better understand the interplay between this dominant frame and the policies advocates seek to promote, and to probe the ability of such values frames as Prevention, Prosperity and Quality of Life to overcome the tendency for all discussion of health to reduce to individual responsibility.

Health Individualism: Findings from Cognitive Elicitations among Californians (2006) reports on cognitive interviews were conducted in four California communities to determine the mental models people use to reason about community health. This research funded by The California Endowment, has allowed us to more fully understand the dominant frame of health individualism that gets in the way of the public's appreciation for the shaping influence of community environments.

Related Reports

Invisible Structures of Opportunity: How Media Depictions of Race Trivialize Issues of Diversity and Disparity (2009).  This analysis was supported by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to examine the various ways in which race is presented to readers, directly and indirectly, in the nation’s news media. More specifically, it analyzes media coverage of race over the course of one year in four issue areas: health, education, early child development and employment.  The report lays out the dominant frames that are applied to race in these areas and demonstrates how these frames constrain public solutions.

Our Products and Tools

Framing Food and Fitness as a Public Issue - A toolkit containing Frequently Asked Questions, sample op-eds, and other communications resources on the issue. 

Food and Fitness E-Workshop - This highly visual E-Workshop will take you through the research findings on Food and Fitness and test your framing IQ in a series of interactive exercises.

Two eZines, Doing Social Math: Case Study in Framing Food and Fitness and Childhood Obesity are also available.


FrameWorks Institute

  Updated: 06/24/16