207744 Examination of the relationship between nutrition media literacy and soft drink consumption among adolescents: Preliminary findings

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Martin H. Evans, PhD (c) , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin, TX
Deborah Parra-Medina, PhD , Institute for Health Promotion Research, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Ruth P. Saunders, PhD, MPH , Health Promotion, Education and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Daniela Friedman, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Education & Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Cheryl Perry, PhD , School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Introduction: Companies spend $500 million annually marketing soft drinks to children. This is a public health concern given the current childhood obesity epidemic. The purpose of this study was to 1) determine the reliability and validity of a newly-developed nutrition media literacy scale and 2) examine the relationship between nutrition media literacy and soft drink consumption among adolescents.

Methods: A self-administered questionnaire assessing demographic information, soft drink consumption, and nutrition media literacy was administered to 244 middle school students. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to examine the factor structure of the media literacy scale. Alpha coefficients were calculated to determine reliability of the overall scale and subscales. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to examine associations between the media literacy subscales and soft drink consumption.

Results: The sample included 7th (n=179) and 8th (n=65) grade students (50% female; 42% Caucasian). The mean media literacy scale score was 35.63 (±5.33) with a range 14 - 45. 51.2% of the participants consumed ≥ 1 can of soda in previous 7 days. Factor analysis resulted in a factor structure of three subscales with alpha coefficients of .761, .825, and .661. Alpha coefficient for the total scale was .848. Significant correlations were found between soda consumption and the total media literacy scale (-.133, p≤.05) and one subscale, Advertising Interpretation (-.177, p≤.01).

Discussion: Understanding how environmental influences such as advertising affect children's behaviors, and the role that media literacy might play in combating these influences, is an important step toward enhancing interventions that address the obesity epidemic.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the essential elements of media literacy. 2. Discuss how levels of media literacy might be associated with dietary behaviors among adolescents.

Keywords: Media Literacy, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate at an accredited school of public health. I am presenting research that I conducted in order to complete my Ph.D.
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.