The prevalence of obese children has tripled during the past three decades. While lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating have been the primary focus of public health efforts, media has a significant influence on food choices and food consumption.
The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine if a media literacy intervention would increase knowledge and decrease the persuasive nature of unhealthy food advertisements. Parents (n=12) and their children (n=15) were recruited from two Boys and Girls clubs. They participated in a 2-hour educational, intervention workshop. The parents completed a pretest and a posttest assessing changes in knowledge and attitudes about food advertisements. Volunteers from the workshop signed up to participate in focus groups. There were two focus groups with parents (n=5) and two focus groups with children (n=6).
According to quantitative results, there were positive changes in parents’ media literacy knowledge after the workshop. Focus group data highlighted that children learned about the purpose of advertisements and how to be more critical of unhealthy food advertisements. In addition, both parents and children revealed positive changes regarding their intentions and behaviors in eating healthy. Media literacy interventions are a promising strategy for educating parents and young children about food advertisements which can help address childhood obesity.
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Powell, Rachel M. and Gross, Tyra
"Food for Thought: A Novel Media Literacy Intervention on Food Advertising Targeting Young Children and their Parents,"
Journal of Media Literacy Education,
10(3), 80 -94.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol10/iss3/5