174300 A systematic examination of the effectiveness of health-promoting media literacy education

Monday, October 27, 2008: 5:30 PM

Lynda Bergsma, PhD , Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
In recent decades, health professionals have increasingly recognized that the media have a significant influence on the health of young people. In their review of research on the media's influence on health, the American Academy of Pediatrics cited primary negative health effects on violence and aggressive behavior; sexuality; body concept and self image; nutrition, dieting, and obesity; and substance use and abuse patterns. Regulating media content, limiting children's media use, and social marketing are traditional approaches that have been used to address the effects of media on health, but media literacy education has emerged in the last 25 years as a promising alternative to the censorship of regulating unhealthy programming or limiting media use. Acknowledging the effects of mass media on attitudes and behavior, media literacy education helps youth understand, analyze, and evaluate advertising and other mass media messages, enabling them to actively process messages rather than passively remain message targets. While the field of media literacy education effectiveness research is in its infancy, several studies have tested the ability of various media literacy curricula to teach youth the critical thinking skills necessary to ameliorate the influence of unhealthy media messages and make healthier choices. This session will report on a systematic examination of those studies to determine the content and process elements of media literacy education that make it an effective health promotion strategy. It will also outline six core principles of media literacy education and their implications for practice in health education and promotion.

Learning Objectives:
1. Cite at least 20 studies of the effectiveness of health-promoting media literacy education. 2. Identify the process and content elements that make media literacy education an effective health education/promotion strategy. 3. Outline six core principles of media literacy education and evaluate their implications for health education and promotion practice.

Keywords: Media Literacy, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed the research
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.