The aim of this study was to examine a women's magazine Cosmopolitan and to study what kind of message the magazine gives about health.
The following questions were posed:
1. What kind of topics does Cosmopolitan discuss in health related articles?
2. How does Cosmopolitan motivate the readers in health related articles?
3. What kind of pictures are presented in health related articles?
A quantitative content analysis was used as the study method and it intends to analyze meanings in the content as well as describes and interprets the material by using statistics and numbers. The analysis was executed with the help of coding categories. The material used for the analysis was 26 health related articles and the articles were found in 11 Cosmopolitan issues published in 2010. Cosmopolitan was chosen because it is a well known magazine in the whole world and it also has lots of young readers.
The results showed that the most common topics in the articles were physical activity and nutrition. Most of the articles (14) aimed to promote healthy lifestyle, but almost as many articles (12) were promoting appearance or both healthy lifestyle and appearance. Most of the articles (14) gave general information. The most common pictures in the articles were whole body pictures (13) or upper body pictures (9). The most used motive in the articles was: get healthier/general wellbeing (16). Other motives used in the articles were: get better body (6); get better endurance/strength (3); get better mental health (1).
Cosmopolitan magazine lacked a comprehensive perspective to health. Positive health outcomes were presented, but also appearance had a central role in the magazine. Bigger variation of motives presented could give a more interesting aspect to the magazine content and also give better and more comprehensive education about health. It is important that youngsters understand the media's impact and can critically interpret the content of magazines.