The Impact of Health-Promoting Media-Literacy Education on Nutrition and Diet Behavior

  • Lynda Bergsma
  • Elizabeth Ferris


Public health professionals increasingly recognize that the media have a significant influence on the behavior of young people with regard to nutrition, dieting, eating disorders, body image, overweight, and obesity. In response, they have used many strategies to address the effects of media on health. Regulating media content, limiting children’s media use, and social marketing are approaches that have been used traditionally, but media literacy education has emerged in the last 20 years as a promising alternative to the censorship of regulating “unhealthy” programming or limiting media use. Although several studies have used media literacy education as a strategy to improve dietary choices, to date there has been no comprehensive review of this literature. A conference report on Setting Research Directions for Media Literacy and Health Education (Center for Media Studies. Conference report: Setting research directions for media literacy and health education. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University; 2001) stressed the need to document the different contexts, processes, and outcomes of health-focused media literacy education. Using this framework, we searched the literature since 1990 and analyzed over 20 health-promoting media literacy education projects designed to address dietary-related public health issues. This chapter examines the background for this study; outlines theoretical foundations, and presents an Integrated Individual and Interpersonal Health-Promoting Media Literacy Education Model; reviews five representative research studies that used a health-promoting media literacy education intervention to address nutrition, diet, body image, and eating disorders; and provides an analysis of what we know and what we still need to know to advance this field of public health practice and research on the impact of health-promoting media-literacy education on nutrition and diet behavior.


Body Image Eating Disorder Body Dissatisfaction Diet Behavior Media Message 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Body Mass Index


Eating Disorders Inventory-2


Eating Disorders Inventory-Body Dissatisfaction Scale


Media Attitudes Questionnaire


Physical Appearance Comparison Scale


Positive and Negative Affect Schedule


Physical Appearance State and Trait Anxiety Scale – Weight


Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis


Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale


Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire


Social Cognitive Theory


Social Learning Theory


Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents


Theory of Planned Behavior


Theory of Reasoned Action


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthUniversity of ArizonaTucsonArizona

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