Frequency and Type of Food Messages on Television

Objectives: The objective of this research was to document the frequency and type of food messages embedded in programming and commercials on primetime and special interest channels. Methods: Seventy-two hours of primetime television, Black Entertainment Television (BET), and Cartoon Network were recorded over a three-week period. Food messages were coded as “healthy” or “unhealthy” and by type of social norm messaging. Ninety-four different types of social norm messages were found. Results: There were 3,784 “unhealthy” and 1,175 “healthy” messages. Messages targeting youth more often observed non-nutrient dense food presented as being fun, consumption of excessive portion sizes and normal weight individuals eating non-nutrient dense foods than was observed in messages targeting adults. Overweight individuals in negative/funny situations were eight times as often observed on Cartoon Network and BET as on primetime television. Children may be exposed to almost twice the amount of “unhealthy” food messages per hour of television viewing than adults (88 per hour versus 45 per hour, respectively). Conclusions: Overall, most social norm messages associated with food seen on television promoted eating behaviors and attitudes that may be associated with the development of obesity.

Social Media Use as a Predictor of Personality

As social media use proliferates, the goal of this study is to examine the relationship between social media use and personality. Specifically, the study seeks to determine whether a link exists between social media use and distinct facets of personality, such as social anxiety. Data were collected through the administration of an anonymous online questionnaire to students at a Canadian university. Contrary to previous research findings, social media use was not significantly correlated to social anxiety or extraversion among this sample of university students. However, social media use and social engagement were positively correlated. This study, which has both educational and practical implications, will be of interest to those who work in the area of mental health, particularly those who work with younger populations who are the biggest consumers of social media.

What Influences Independent, Young Adults' Food Choices?

The transition from high school education to tertiary education is a significant stage in a young person’s life. As this experience is often combined with moving out of the family home young adults are required to learn work independently, prepare meals for themselves, take care of their home environment all whilst trying to support themselves financially. For many young adults, this time is a steep learning curve in a number of elements in their life. During this transition time young adults are frequently portrayed as having a low income and are often thought to be at risk of food insecurity. University students have also been shown to have a diet lacking in essential food groups, however there has been little research into why university student are lacking in food groups, in particular why this is so in Australian students. There are many other possible influences of young adult’s food choice such as family background, their current living conditions or social environment. This research seeks to expand the understanding of influences upon food choices, specifically looking at young adults in this major transition stage. It aims to look deeper into their circumstances, looking past the typical stereo-type of the ‘poor student’ to explore lifelong influences such as family background, education and skills and also new, immediate influences such as their living conditions and social environment. This research will add to the limited knowledge base on young adult’s food influences with the potential to guide health promotion and assistance programs to a more tailored approach to this population group’s needs.