Online newspaper framing of non-communicable diseases: Comparison of Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao

Angela Chang, Peter J. Schulz, Angus Wenheng Cheong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


As non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now well recognized as the leading cause of mortality among adult populations worldwide, they are also increasingly the focus of media coverage. As such, the objective of this study is to describe the framing of NCDs in the coverage of newspapers, with the understanding that it says something about the society producing it. Automatic content analysis was employed to examine disease topics, risks, and cost consequences, thus providing lay people with a chance of learning the etiology of NCDs and information available for fighting diseases. The result of the computational method identified a total of 152,810 news articles with one of the seven supra-categories of NCDs. The category of metabolic diseases was covered most frequently in the past ten years. Three health risks received ample attention in all 11 newspapers: stress burden, tobacco use, and genetic predispositions. The results evidenced how media framed risk information of illnesses would distort the way in which diseases were selected, interpreted, and the outcome communicated. Future research building on our findings can further examine whether news framing affects the way the readers perceive and prevent NCDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5593
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Behavioral factor
  • Causal assertions
  • Framing
  • Non-communicable disease
  • Online press
  • Risk factors


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