Document Type : Original Article


Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Science, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Due to the wide influence of public media, they become important communication
channels for changing health beliefs and behaviors. One of the areas that have gained increased
attention in public media is nutritional information. Cancer is one among the diseases related
to nutrition. The goal of this study is to do a content analysis of the popular magazines in Iran
for nutritional information related to cancer in year 2012–2013. Materials and Methods: This
is an applied survey performed using content analysis method. The data gathering tool is a
checklist designed by the researcher. The statistical population consisted of all of the messages
printed in 173 volumes of eight most popular magazines which were selected based on their
characteristics by searching the Iranian publication database using certain inclusion and
exclusion criteria. The sample size calculated using non‑probability – purposive sampling was
295 messages from 96 magazine volumes. Results: Findings showed that prevention trends
had the highest (86.8%) and treatment had the lowest (4.7%) frequency in the messages.
Pomegranate was the most commonly mentioned preventive food, while mayonnaises were
the most commonly mentioned carcinogen and tangerine was the most commonly mentioned
food used for cancer treatment. Among the different types of cancer, more than half of the
messages (51.2%) mentioned “cancer” as a general term. After that, breast cancer (13.2%)
and prostate cancer (10.51%) were the most commonly motioned cancers and messages
regarding pancreatic cancer and hormone‑related cancers were the least frequent (0.3%).
Conclusions: The findings of this study show that the main goal of these messages was to
increase the information provided to the readers, although some doubts regarding the scientific
credibility of the claims made in these messages still remain.


1. Macnamara J. Media content analysis: Its uses, benefits and best
practice methodology. Asia Pac Public Relat J 2005;6:1‑34.
2. Ashorkhani M, Gholami J, Maleki K, Nedjat S, Mortazavi J,
Majdzadeh R. Quality of health news disseminated in the print media
in developing countries: A case study in Iran. BMC Public Health
3. Mohammadpour Mohammadpour ahranjani B, Abdollahi M,
Pakravan M. Nutritional messages in Iranian newspapers: A content
analysis. Payesh 2003;2:63‑71.
4. World Health Organization. Cancer. Geneva: WHO; 2012. Available
html. [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 15].
5. Mokarian F, Ramezani MA, Heydari K, Tabatabaeian M, Tavazohi H.
Epidemiology and trend of cancer in Isfahan 2005‑2010. J Res Med
Sci 2011;16:1228‑33.
6. Abolghasemi H. A preface. 2011. Available from: http://crc.sbmu. [Last accessed on 2013 May 10].
7. Musarezaie A, Ghasemi TM, Esfahani HN. Investigation the quality
of life and its relation with clinical and demographic characteristics
in women with breast cancer under chemotherapy. Int J Prev Med
8. Mirbazegh SF, Rahnavard Z, Rajabi F. The effect of education
on dietary behaviors to prevent cancer in mothers. J Res Health
9. Pal D, Banerjee S, Kumar Ghosh A. Dietary‑induced cancer
prevention: An expanding research arena of emerging Diet Related
to Healthcare System. J Adv Pharm Technol Res 2012;3:16‑24.
10. Niknam M, Azadbakht L. Nutrition and gastric cancer: A review of
epidemiologic evidences. Health Syst Res 2012;8:724‑38.
11. Shokri Mashhadi N, Azadbakht L. Food groups and breast cancer:
A review of current evidence. Health Syst Res 2012;8:739‑47.
12. Amini M, Mohsenian Rad M, Kimiagar M, Omidvar N. Which foods
do TV food advertisements entice our children to eat? Iran J Nutr
Sci Food Technol 2007;2:49‑57.
13. Maheshwar M, Rao RD. A comparative analysis of nutrition science
coverage by popular Indian daily newspapers. J Media Commun
Stud 2011;3:131‑43.
14. Smith K, Kromm E, Klassen A. Print news coverage of cancer: What
prevention messages are conveyed when screening is newsworthy?
Cancer Epidemiol 2010;34:434‑41.
15. Larson S, Long M, Slater M, Bettinghaus E. A content analysis of
cancer survivorship coverage in a representative sample of U.S.
News Outlets. J Cancer Educ 2009;24:291‑6.
16. Jones SC, Andrews KL, Tapsell L, Williams P, McVie D. The extent
and nature of “Health Messages” in magazine food advertising in
Australia. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17:317‑24.
17. Lovejoy J. A content analysis of cancer news coverage in
appalachian Ohio community newspapers. Athens, Ohio, United
States: Ohio University; 2007.
18. Bahrampour SH. The characteristic of Iranian popular magazines.
Rasaneh 2004;15:81‑92.
19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nutrition for Everyone,
Food groups. 2012. Available from:
everyone/basics/foodgroups.html. [Last accessed on 2013 Sep 20].
20. Matlabi M. Food Categories. 2013. Availabli from: http:// [Last accessed on
2013 May 20].
21. van Trigt AM, de Jong‑van den Berg LT, Voogt LM, Willems J,
Tromp TF, Haaijer‑Ruskamp FM. Setting the agenda: Does the
medical literature set the agenda for articles about medicines in
the newspapers? Soc Sci Med 1995;41:893‑9.
22. Westerman D, Spence PR, Van Der Heide B. Social media
as information source: Recency of updates and credibility of
information. J Comput Mediat Commun 2014;19:171‑83.
23. Aghajani H. Iranian annual of national cancer registration report
2008‑2009. Tehran: Ministry of Health and Medical Education,
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Cancer Office; 2011