Objectives: Household food insecurity (HFI) affects approximately 13% of Canadian households and is especially prevalent among low-income households. Actions to address HFI have been occurring primarily at the local level, despite calls for greater income supports from senior governments to reduce poverty. News media may be reinforcing this trend, by emphasizing food-based solutions to HFI and the municipal level as the site where action needs to take place. The objective of this study was to examine the level and framing of print news media coverage of HFI action in Canada. Methods: Using a quantitative newspaper content analysis approach, we analyzed 547 articles gathered from 2 national and 16 local/regional Englishlanguage newspapers published between January 2007 and December 2012. Results: News coverage increased over time, and over half was produced from Ontario (33%) and British Columbia (22%) combined. Of the 374 articles that profiled a specific action, community gardens/urban agriculture was most commonly profiled (17%), followed by food banks/meal programs (13%); 70% of articles implicated governments to take action on HFI, and of these, 43% implicated municipal governments. Article tone was notably more negative when senior governments were profiled and more neutral and positive when municipal governments were profiled. Conclusion: News media reporting of this issue in Canada may be placing pressure on municipalities to engage in food-based actions to address HFI. A more systematic approach to HFI action in Canada will require more balanced media reporting that acknowledges the limitations of food-based solutions to the income-based problem of HFI.

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Canadian Journal of Public Health
Department of Law and Legal Studies

Collins, P.A. (Patricia A.), Gaucher, M, Power, E.M. (Elaine M.), & Little, M.H. (Margaret H.). (2016). Implicating municipalities in addressing household food insecurity in Canada: A pan-Canadian analysis of news print media coverage. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 107(1), e68–e74. doi:10.17269/CJPH.107.5231