Childhood obesity campaigns: a comparative analysis of media campaigns targeting general and specific audiences

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O'Neal, Pamela K.
Ballard-Reisch, Deborah
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In the past thirty years childhood obesity rates have doubled and even tripled in some age groups in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). It has become so severe and affected so many children, it has recently been labeled an epidemic by the World Health Organization (2009). Reports demonstrate that rates are higher among co-cultural populations such as African Americans and Hispanics and vary across populations between females and males (CDC, 2008). One strategy employed by many organizations to help reduce the rate of childhood obesity is the use of mass media campaigns (Evans, 2008). Due to the rise in childhood obesity rates and the use of mass media campaigns in an effort to reduce those rates, this study examines childhood obesity media campaigns and their impact on the populations they target. Because rates are higher among co-cultural populations and because they also differ between female and male children, this study examines how campaigns use various techniques to convey health messages to children of specific populations and of different sex. In order to determine if the strategies the campaigns employ are different among the diverse racial and ethnical populations and between female and male children and to determine the specific strategies utilized, articles that report on the effectiveness of campaigns will be systematically reviewed. Employing Glaser & Straus’ (1967) constant comparative analysis methodology, this study will utilize prior research to identify codes and report on strategies that appear throughout campaign literature (Glaser & Straus, 1967). Using a systematic approach, articles that report on (1) the effectiveness of childhood obesity media campaigns (2) childhood obesity campaigns targeting racial and ethnical populations and (3) campaigns with female and male children will be identified and selected for the study. Articles will then be read and coded and the results reported.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of Communication.
Wichita State University
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