Rates of childhood obesity are alarmingly high and increasing each year. Studies have shown that obese children are more likely to become obese adults and are likely to suffer with numerous health consequences like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes, among others. Studies also indicate that television viewing and exposure to advertising for food products influences children's attitudes toward, food preferences and food purchase requests for foods with low nutritional value. It is important to better understand the role of media in childhood obesity and to learn how media may be used to address this issue in a positive way. This book focuses on communication and media research that can have an impact on reducing childhood obesity. Emphasis is placed on topics related to how the media communicate health-related messages about food, nutrition and diet that influence childhood obesity. Particular emphasis is on the new media, given the fact that media now have more central roles in socializing today's children and youth than ever before. Advertising and marketing messages reach young consumers through a variety of vehicles - broadcast and cable television, radio, magazines, computers through the Internet, music, cell phones - and in many different venues - homes, schools, child-care settings, grocery stores, shopping malls, theaters, sporting events, and even airports. In addition, given the disparity in obesity rates between children of color and the general population, special attention is given to research on media targeting these populations.
Jerome D. Williams is the Prudential Chair in Business and Research Director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, in the Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick. His current research interests cover a number of areas in the consumer marketing domain, with an emphasis on multicultural marketing. He has conducted research on marketing communications and promotion strategies targeting multicultural market segments and consumer behavior of multicultural market segments related to public health communication issues. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Food Marketing and Diets of Children and Youth that authored the report Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity? Keryn E. Pasch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas, Austin. She received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology with a minor in Interpersonal Relationships Research from Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota and her Master's in Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Pasch was also a National Cancer Institute Postdoctoral Fellow in Cancer Prevention and Control in the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Health Living at the Austin Regional Campus of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Dr. Pasch's research program focuses on the influence of food and beverage advertising and alcohol advertising on youth risk behaviors as well as the factors that may alter the influence of advertising on behavior. Currently, she has a NIH funded grant to document and describe outdoor food and beverage advertising around schools. Her research also focuses on how risk behaviors, including sleep, substance use, and obesity-related behaviors, may co-occur among youth as well as on developing preventive interventions to address these behaviors. Dr. Pasch is also the Chair of the Early Career Preventionist Network of the Society for Prevention Research. Chiquita A. Collins is the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Cultural Competence and Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has served as the Health Equity Research Director at Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization serving government and private-sector clients, as well as a consultant with the Office for the Elimination of Health Disparities for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Her research interests focus on the trends and determinants of socioeconomic and racial differences in health. After completing her doctorate at the University of Michigan, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Her article with David R. Williams, 'US Socioeconomic and Racial Differences in Health: Patterns and Explanations,' received the distinction as one of the most cited in the Annual Review of Sociology during a ten-year span. Her published work was used to help inform the making of the award-winning PBS documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?