Objectives: In this study, we investigated how exercise is portrayed in popular, non-fitness focused magazines targeting various audiences. Methods: Ten popular magazines were selected based on target audience (Teens, Young Adults, Family, Middle-Aged Adults, Older Adults).
Ten digital articles from each magazine's health/fitness section were coded for the primary reason to exercise, the frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise recommended, and whether their recommendations were evidence-based. Frequencies were calculated by target audience. Results:
The primary reason for exercise differed by audience, with appearance and fitness empha- sized by magazines targeting younger audiences, and mental health/quality of life emphasized in magazines targeting older adults. Over half of the articles described exercises that should be completed
2x-3x/week for <10 minutes. Articles frequently recommended circuit workouts that could be completed at moderate or self-selected intensity. Only 10% of articles cited peer- reviewed evidence. Conclusions: Results showed popular magazines often represent exercise as something that
can be completed in a short time frame with meaningful benefits. However, an overemphasis on appearance in young adults is apparent, which could undermine intrinsic mo- tivation and behavior. Improved communication between researchers and popular magazines is needed to promote sharing of credible,
evidence-based exercise content with the public.
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Document Type: Research Article
Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS;, Email: [email protected]
Graduate Research As- sistant, Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Publication date: March 1, 2019
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The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.
The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.
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