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Opportunities for Implementing Media Literacy Education as an Obesity Prevention Strategy in China

  • Yi-Chun (Yvonnes) ChenEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter discusses the importance of incorporating media literacy into school and nonschool settings to combat childhood obesity in China. This chapter begins with an introduction of the obesity epidemic and the rising medical costs associated with obesity-related illnesses. The author then explains how food marketing contributes to childhood obesity by discussing food advertising expenditures, types of food advertising, and persuasive tactics used in food marketing to attract children’s attention.

Although policies that restrict food marketing to children are strongly advocated in the USA to combat childhood obesity, the author argues that such policy solutions may not be easily adaptable in China due to a variety of structural barriers. Indeed, lax food marketing regulations in China, coupled with a lack of regulations that do not limit children’s exposure to food advertising, require integrating novel approaches—such as media literacy trainigns—into obesity prevention. In China, media literacy education has received burgeoning interests in school and nonschool settings. It offers a potential solution to addressing the childhood obesity crisis by asking critical questions to encourage reflections and by empowering children to produce media messages to counter the impact of food advertising.

Modeling after evidence-based health-promoting media literacy interventions, the author provides suggestions for media literacy strategies for obesity prevention. Because advertising often reflects cultural values, the author also argues the importance of incorporating such values into the critical analysis of food advertising and marketing activities.

Keywords

Obesity Food marketing Media literacy China Cultural dimensions 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass CommunicationsUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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