Effect of Media on Eating Habits

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The Impact of Television Media on Food Choices The detrimental influence of television media on food choices and eating habits of youth in American is a serious issue. Due to the continual variety of media American children are exposed to on a daily basis the response of poor behavior and unhealthy lifestyle habits have shown to increase the health risks of this population. More than one issue is at the root of this problem. Circumstances Studies date back to the 70s in reference to television media and the influence advertisements had (and still have) on populations exposed to such media. Currently this is a serious and growing concern for public health officials, registered dietitians, and families interested in living their day to day lives in a healthy manner. Youth are at the highest risk. According to the National Health Examination Survey, children ages 11-13 have highest rate of daily television viewing (Brown, 2008, p. 316). In a 2007 study, children were more likely to be overweight when they watched more television (Gable, Chang & Krull, 2007). Currently, the second leading cause of actual death according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is poor diet and physical inactivity (Schneider, 2006, p. 270). Trends that lead to poor diet and physical inactivity, eventually obesity in adults and children alike, stem from habits that form early on in childhood. This creates an endless cycle that perpetuates from generation to generation. Obesity is currently an issue that threatens the majority of Americans and its prevalence has increased substantially in the last three decades (Schneider, 2006, p. 272). It’s caused by a number of different factors including genetics, physical inactivity, and poor eating habits. Two of the three factors noted can be strongly associated with television media. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota in 2009 found an increased incidence of eating in front of the television


References: Brown, Jane, D., & Witherspoon, Elizabeth M. (2002). The Mass Media and American Adolescents’ Health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 153-170. Brown, Judith. (2008). Nutrition through the Life Cycle Third Edition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth. Francis, Lori I., & Birch, LeAnn. (2006). Does Eating during Television Viewing Affect Preschool Children’s Intake? Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106, 598-600. Grossberg, Lawrence, Wartella, Ellen, Whitney, D. Charles, & Wise, J. Macgregor. (2006). Media Making Mass Media in a Popular Culture. Thousand Oakes: SAGE Publications. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2004). The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity. Retrieved October 28, 2009, from www.kff.org/entmedia/.../The-Role-Of-Media- in-Childhood-Obesity.pdf Peregrin, Tony Schneider, Mary-Jane. (2006). Introduction to Public Health. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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