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Insights Into Medical Communication

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Edited By Maurizio Gotti, Stefania Maria Maci and Michele Sala

This book analyses the subject of medical communication from a range of innovative perspectives, covering a broad spectrum of approaches and procedures that are particularly significant in this field.
In this volume, medical communication is analyzed from various viewpoints: not only from a merely linguistic angle, with a focus on the description of the genres used in medical and healthcare contexts, but also from a social and cultural standpoint, with an emphasis both on the doctor-patient relationship and on the social relevance of the other types of communicative links existing between the many communities involved in this type of interaction.
The study of some of the main fields typical of medical communication has highlighted a considerable variety of themes, data and research methods which are clearly representative of the eclectic interest in this specific domain and of the wide range of approaches developed for its investigation.
As the various chapters show, linguistic analysis proves to be highly applicable to textualizations involving multiple interactions and practices, and several kinds of participants, including different healthcare professionals, trainees and patients.
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Authority and Solidarity: How Institutional Websites in the US and the UK Communicate Nutritional Guidelines for Children

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1.  Introduction

The importance of good eating habits throughout life has been widely recognized and promoted in recent decades in developed countries, also as a result of the rapid increase in food-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, but also eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia etc. Both private and public organisations have shown interest and concern for nutrition-related communication, increasingly addressing their social and marketing initiatives to specific age groups (Abbott 1977; Featherstone 2007; Scollon 2005). Government agencies may count on the unique position they hold to promote health and sustainable development as they have direct responsibility for key issues that have a major impact on their citizens’ lives. Children’s health inevitably stands as one of the core issues after it has been acknowledged that childhood obesity, in particular, is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon to the extent that it is called an epidemic by the World Health Organization.1

This study will focus on the institutional approaches to discourses connected with food for children, and it will specifically focus on food advice, nutritional tips or dietary guidelines available on the websites of government agencies in the US and the UK. The main purpose of this study is to analyse the communicative strategies adopted by US and UK government agencies and identify salient discursive features deployed to reach a wide audience and impact on the construction of discourses ← 293 | 294 → concerning children and food; I will also examine possible differences (or similarities) from the two...

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