J Prev Med Public Health.  2019 Nov;52(6):384-392. 10.3961/jpmph.19.221.

An Exploratory Study of Health Inequality Discourse Using Korean Newspaper Articles: A Topic Modeling Approach

  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. jhkim00011@gmail.com
  • 2Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


This study aimed to explore the health inequality discourse in the Korean press by analyzing newspaper articles using a relatively new content analysis technique.
This study used the search term "health inequality" to collect articles containing that term that were published between 2000 and 2018. The collected articles went through pre-processing and topic modeling, and the contents and temporal trends of the extracted topics were analyzed.
A total of 1038 articles were identified, and 5 topics were extracted. As the number of studies on health inequality has increased over the past 2 decades, so too has the number of news articles regarding health inequality. The extracted topics were public health policies, social inequalities in health, inequality as a social problem, healthcare policies, and regional health gaps. The total number of occurrences of each topic increased every year, and the trend observed for each theme was influenced by events related to its contents, such as elections. Finally, the frequency of appearance of each topic differed depending on the type of news source.
The results of this study can be used as preliminary data for future attempts to address health inequality in Korea. To make addressing health inequality part of the public agenda, the media's perspective and discourse regarding health inequality should be monitored to facilitate further strategic action.


Health inequality; Newspaper; Discourse; Topic modeling; Korea
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