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Childhood obesity Framing toolkit

Health first: how to talk about childhood obesity

Use our interactive toolkit to find out how you can change the conversation to improve children’s health.


How we talk about child health and obesity matters.

Where we live, and what we earn, shapes the options available to us to be healthy. But when people think about childhood obesity, it’s seen solely as an issue of lack of willpower and parental failure. An inevitable feature of modern life. And the only solutions that people put forward are for there to be better education about food.

What’s missing in all this? Context.

Which is why we need to tell a new story which shows that what surrounds us, shapes us. And helps to build support for the wider changes needed that will enable all children to thrive and be healthy.

The below recommendations are based on research by the FrameWorks Institute. Read more about our research methodology and findings here.

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© 2020 FrameWorks Institute

What is framing?

Framing is making choices about what we say and how we say it.

It’s what we emphasise, how we explain an issue, and what we leave unsaid.

These choices change how people think, feel and act.

Frames are more than just key words or phrases. Frames provide a scaffolding for you to build your communications, helping you to tell the same powerful story but in language that can be adapted for your audience.

6 recommendations for improving children's health

River showing flood of unhealthy food
Use the rivers metaphor to talk about our high streets being flooded with junk food, and that there’s barely a trickle of healthy food available.
Illustration showing unhealthy food taking centre stage
Use the stage metaphor to explain how advertising and marketing practices engineer children’s taste for high-sugar, high-fat, calorie-dense foods.

Putting it into practice

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Put yourself to the test

Try our quiz below to see how you can put good framing into practice.

Which one is best? Choose one of the following

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