The Australian NHMRC guidelines for alcohol consumption and their portrayal in the print media: a content analysis of Australian newspapers

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Abstract

Objective:

To measure and characterise unpaid coverage in the Australian print media of the 2001, 2007 and 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol.

Methods:

A total of 172 articles published in Australian newspapers between 1999 and 2014 were content analysed using a coding framework aimed to define the article descriptors, article prominence, content, slant and guidelines.

Results:

The majority (62.2%) of articles were published between 2007 and 2009, the predominant topic being ‘the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines” with less than two-thirds (59.2%) of the articles mentioning the specific guidelines for reducing alcohol-related harm.

Conclusions:

There was low unpaid print newspaper coverage of the guidelines, which may contribute to low community knowledge of the guidelines.

Implications for public health:

This study provides a foundation for developing further studies and highlights the need to improve awareness of the guidelines.

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