Of Bulging Bellies and Slimming TVs: Television and Nutrition Transition in India
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Television has traversed a long path in India as an educational tool. After opening up the economy for liberalization, radio and television were laid open to private players. From the days of the solitary few soaps and televised mythological dramas when millions of viewers stayed glued to their sets to today’s television mills that cater to a growingly information hungry nation, India’s television has seen a sea change. After over five decades, India’s television industry has broadcasters constantly facing the three Rs—revenue, relevance and reach. With changing technology the screen no doubt are slimming but TVs are blamed in part for bulging girth of India’s upwardly mobile population. Juxtaposing this scenario with the changing health policies, this chapter analyzes the role of television in promoting health and the influence it has had on various social, economic and political processes that have been revolutionizing the health landscape in India. Furthermore, the chapter also analyzes various social processes that include health consumerism, urban modelling, ‘health food’ advertising and its impact on nutrition, restructuring of human relationships, hegemony in health messaging and the emergence of a confused information cacophony. Some see these processes as positive, yet others view them as negative developments. These are looked at with specific reference to changing nutrition scenario in India.
KeywordsNutrition Transition Television Advertising Soap Opera Food Advertising Leisure Engagement
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