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HEALTH IMAGES IN THE MEDIA . Vanessa Purdon, Becky Fisher, Morgan Wells, Sara Hawkins, Cassie Foley. Objectives . Discuss/Illustrate Health’s Presence in Mass Communication . Key Terms.

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health images in the media


Vanessa Purdon, Becky Fisher,

Morgan Wells, Sara Hawkins, Cassie Foley


Discuss/Illustrate Health’s Presence in Mass Communication

key terms
Key Terms
  • Mass Communication: Dissemination of messages from one person (or group of persons) to large numbers of people via transmitting devices called media (Biagi, 1999).
  • Types of Media: TV, radio, computers, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and video games (du Pre, 2004).
  • Health Issues: Obesity/Nutrition, Violence/Sex, Alcohol, Tobacco/Smoking.
today s focus
Today’s Focus
  • Media can be both “Friend” and “Foe” in terms of promoting healthy behavior.
  • Friend-Promote valuable health information to large numbers of people
  • Foe-Images potentially influence unhealthy behaviors (Focus of our presentation)
  • ****Not stating that media "Causes" these behaviors, but the images may be influential***
theoretical perspective
Theoretical Perspective
  • Cultivation Theory - People develop beliefs about he world based on a complex array of influences; including the media (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1994).
  • Social Comparison Theory - People judge themselves largely in comparison to others (Festinger, 1957).
marketing to young people
Marketing to Young People……..
  • 90% of smokers begin before age 21
  • 60% of smokers begin before age 14!
  • Companies spend $11 million EVERY DAY to advertise tobacco products
former youth oriented tobacco promotion
Former Youth-Oriented Tobacco Promotion…
  • Remember Joe Camel?

- a study showed 1/3 of 3 year olds matched Joe Camel with Cigarettes

- he was a cartoon, cartoons are generally for children

  • The Marlboro Man

- A strong man young boys could look up to, and young girls could fall in love with

no more advertisements means other forms of promotion to young people
No more advertisements means other forms of promotion to young people…
  • Free Cigarette giveaways

- concerts, sporting events

  • Foreign countries even have attractive young women dressed up in costumes hand out cigarettes to young people at school during recess!
more ways of promotion
More ways of promotion…
  • Walking Billboards
  • Cigarette-Branded merchandise

- T-Shirts, jackets, hats, backpacks

  • How do we get this merchandise?

- buying more cigarettes

- camel cash, etc.. It is like a game for young people

some interesting advertisements
Some Interesting Advertisements…
  • child_appeal.htm
the media and it s effects on alcohol use
The Media and It’s Effects on Alcohol Use
  • Advertising associates drinking with positive characteristics, never negative characteristics.
    • Social camaraderie, masculinity, sexual attraction, romance, escape, and adventure.
    • Hangovers, accidents, embarrassment, and violence.
    • EX: Commercials during sporting events always include beautiful women and laughing friends, never DUIs and car accidents.
the media s main audience
The Media’s Main Audience
  • The media’s main audience is not people of legal age to drink, but underage people.
  • Underage drinkers view…..
    • 8% more beer ads
    • 11.6% more malt liquor ads
    • 14.5% more hard liquor ads
the media s other main audience
The Media’s Other Main Audience
  • The media also aims their alcohol advertisements at minorities.
  • African-Americans view…
    • 66% more beer ads
    • 81% more hard liquor ads
when do kids see these alcohol ads
When do Kids see these Alcohol Ads?
  • Children view these ads during prime time TV, sporting events, movies, and music videos.
  • 70% prime time TV
  • 90% movies (1/3 show characters drinking, but only 2% show any signs of drinking problems.)
why does this matter
Why Does This Matter?
  • The fact that most alcohol ads are aimed at underage people and minorities can be dangerous.
  • It has been found that television alcohol ads have more effect on youth than parental influence, age, gender, church attendance, and social status.
  • Kids see more of these alcohol ads than any other group, and do not view any negative consequences associated with alcohol consumption.
violence in the media
Violence in the Media
  • No matter what time you watch TV, you are likely to see violence 2 out of 3 programs.
  • Male children are more likely than female children to imitate violence seen on TV
  • About 75.5% movie previews include violence and 56% show sexuality.
  • Media Violence causes people to overestimate the threat of violence in their environment.
soap operas
Soap Operas
  • In 50 hrs of soap operas researchers noted 333 instances of sexual activity
  • In soap operas viewers see unmarried couples engage in sex ever 1.5-1.8 times per hr
on the good side
On the Good Side
  • More shows today are depicting young people discussing sex in responsible ways.
    • Using condoms
    • More talk about HIV and other STDs
    • Open discussion about Rape
still on the good side
Still on the Good Side
  • There are now programs to limit the amount of violent exposures to young people.
    • Warning labels on TV Shows and Music
    • Television Rating Systems
    • V-chip



  • Teens are the most targeted population
  • More teens are obese now than ever before!
  • The more time children AND adults spend watching television, the more likely they are to be obese.
  • Most of the commercials that are aired during children’s television shows are for foods with low nutritional value (candy, soft drinks, potato chips, sugared cereals, etc.)
  • Snacks, usually sweet, are or referred to 3-5 times per ½ hour on prime-time television
  • Images in the Media:
    • Average model weighs 23% less than the average woman
    • All Playboy centerfolds and ¾ of all models had body mass indexes of 17.5 or below (the American Psychology Association’s criterion for anorexia nervosa)
    • Also the males!!! Male models became significantly more muscular in Playgirl
  • Bulimia becomes the natural response due to the contradiction between the characters in the media and the ads that are selling them junk food.
  • 44% of all female adolescents believe that they are overweight
  • 60% are actively trying to lose weight