Theory And Empirical Research Of Children And Young People And Digital Food/Health Literacy

Cooper, Victoria; Narzisi, Katia; Simons, Joan; Tatlow-Golden, Mimi and Twiner, Alison (2018). Theory And Empirical Research Of Children And Young People And Digital Food/Health Literacy. In: 2nd Digital Health and Wellbeing Conference, 1-3 May 2018, Open University, Milton Keynes.


Health professionals are recognising more and more that media have a substantial influence on the health of young people. Unhealthy food advertising can contribute to childhood obesity. Many strategies have been used to address the effects of media on health, as for example regulating media content, and restricting children’s media use. Media and health literacy education are alternatives to these restrictions, as they offer programmes to educate children and young people.

Health/media literacy education aims at promoting health amongst children and young people by involving them in critical examinations of media messages. These are designed to give youth critical thinking skills needed to understand the intentions of what is communicated to them. These messages can promote risky behaviours in children and young people’s food choices.

This paper looks at the context and processes that make an intervention effective or not. In addition it looks at existing literature on this topic to evaluate the different theories applied to these interventions. Findings will enable discussions around the outcomes of the different interventions, highlighting the controversy on their efficacy. This paper will conclude by looking at the potential implications for the development of new media literacy interventions.

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