Weighing in: The taste-engineering frame in obesity expert discourse

Selena E. Ortiz, Frederick J. Zimmerman, Franklin D. Gilliam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives. We sought expert opinion on the problems with 2 dominant obesityprevention discourse frames-personal responsibility and the environment-and examined alternative frames for understanding and addressing obesity.

Methods. We conducted 60-minute, semistructured interviews with 15 US-based obesity experts. We manually coded and entered interview transcripts into software, generating themes and subthematic areas that captured the debate's essence.

Results. Although the environmental frame is the dominant model used in communications with the public and policymakers, several experts found that communicating key messages within this frame was difficult because of the enormity of the obesity problem. A subframe of the environmental frame-the taste-engineering frame-identifies food industry strategies to influence the overconsumption of certain foods and beverages. This emerging frame deconstructs the environmental frame so that causal attributes and responsible agents are more easily identifiable and proposed policies and public health interventions more salient.

Conclusions. Expert interviews are an invaluable resource for understanding how experts use frames in discussing their work and in conversations with the public and policymakers. Future empirical studies testing the effectiveness of the taste-engineering frame on public opinion and support for structural-level health policies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-559
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Weighing in: The taste-engineering frame in obesity expert discourse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this