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Stage 2 Field Testing of a Family-Based Media Literacy and Nutrition Program to Prevent Childhood Obesity

      Objective

      To continue field testing of a family-based curriculum and a youth-only version of the curriculum that uses a media literacy education approach to foster healthier family food behaviors.

      Description

      A second wave of field testing was completed for the family-based version of FoodMania: Kids & Food in a Marketing-Driven World. Two waves of a “youth-only” version of the curriculum using only the children's lessons were also conducted. Each wave included corresponding control groups.

      Evaluation

      Family-based curriculum results showed significant increases in negative parental mediation and child-initiated discussion about food marketing and nutrition. Cognitive processing outcomes such as increased skepticism, critical thinking toward source and content, and advertising efficacy were also significant, among others. Parents in the family-based intervention reported a significantly better ratio of more-healthy to less-healthy foods in the home, higher social support from their children to purchase fruits, and more use of food labels. Children reported discussing nutrition label information with their parents significantly more often. Fewer significant outcomes were observed among children in the youth-only curriculum, as expected. Child-initiated discussion and critical thinking toward content remained significantly higher than the control groups. Children in either curriculum condition reported eating significantly more vegetables and/or fruit the previous day than their control group counterparts. Additional analyses will incorporate structural equation modeling to examine results within and between the family-based and youth-only curriculum conditions.

      Conclusions and Implications

      FoodMania successfully utilizes media literacy as a catalyst for family discussion about food and food marketing, and has positive cognitive and behavioral effects for parents and children. Delayed posttest analysis will examine longer-term curriculum impacts.

      Funding

      2012-68001-19618

      Supplementary data