In 2012, the California cities of Richmond and El Monte made headlines when they asked voters to consider taxing soda and other sugary drinks. Wanting to avoid a regulatory precedent, the soda industry spent $4 million to oppose the ballot measures, which ultimately failed. In this news analysis, we explore how the tax proposals were portrayed in the news, what arguments were made both for and against them, and what this means for public health advocates looking to regulate sugary beverages in other communities.
Values are an important part of communicating, but where do they come from and how are they created? Who gets to matter in public conversations, and how can advocates make their voices more powerful? In this brown bag, a part of BMSG's 20th anniversary series, Praxis Project Executive Director Makani Themba discusses the role of institutional actors in producing values and encourages advocates to get involved in that process. She urges us to move beyond fleeting sound bites and develop a deeper communication strategy — one that addresses power imbalances and puts advocates in front of the mic.
With young people's growing use of digital devices, food and beverage companies are now able to target them in more ways than ever, often with deceptive content that makes it harder for youth to recognize as marketing. Some legal protections have yet to catch up with advances in digital marketing, but existing prohibitions on unfair and deceptive practices can be used to protect kids.
The toll in human suffering and health costs from diet-related disease is stark. Addressing the digital marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to youth is a key step toward easing this toll and ensuring a healthy future. This report from the Public Health Advocacy Institute, Berkeley Media Studies Group and Center for Digital Democracy describes state legal approaches available to stem the harmful tide of digital food marketing targeted at children and teens.
Digital games are a popular tactic that food and beverage companies use to market unhealthy products to kids and teens. Research shows there is a connection between gaming and obesity, and advergames can have a harmful effect on kids' eating habits. However, the sheer volume of gaming platforms and apps makes state regulation a challenge.
In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature passed a ground-breaking health reform law that included a provision to address the root causes of poor heath, with the aim of reducing rising health care costs. In this news analysis, we assess how the program was framed in the media and offer recommendations to help public health advocates make the case for prevention.
Addressing food marketing is critical to improving child nutrition and health. This webinar, hosted by ASTHO, the Food Marketing Workgroup and NPLAN, and moderated by BMSG's Lori Dorfman, explores past challenges and victories to help advocates reduce junk food marketing to kids in the present.
Tobacco control's unparalleled success comes partly from advocates broadening the focus of responsibility beyond the smoker to include industry and government. How can public health advocates apply lessons from tobacco control to other efforts like the fight against harmful food and beverage industry products and marketing practices? A study we conducted with our colleagues from the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law offers insights.
Automobiles are a major cause of injury and death, yet because they have long been a symbol of freedom and privacy in the United States, efforts to regulate them often meet resistance. Even basic protections like seat belts and airbags that we now take for granted were once contested. In this video as part of BMSG's 20th anniversary brown bag series, Ben Kelley, director of injury control policy at the Trauma Foundation, discusses the evolution of auto industry regulation and changes in the public's perception of and media reporting on the issue since the early 20th century.
Communities across the U.S. are looking for ways to make sure health considerations are a part of all policy decisions. This requires collaboration and clear communication. In a webinar hosted by the Public Health Institute's Dialogue4Health, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Ingrid Daffner Krasnow discuss how organizations can make the case for why Health in All Policies is essential to help protect physical and fiscal health, advance community engagement, and build relationships across government sectors.
Health in All Policies is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by making sure health considerations are a part of all policy decisions. In Section 7 of this toolkit from the Public Health Institute, BMSG's Lori Dorfman and Ingrid Daffner Krasnow discuss how we can more effectively make the case for a Health in All Policies framework. Download toolkit >
Speaking at a California State Senate informational hearing, BMSG media researcher Andrew Cheyne talks about the government's role in protecting public health. He discusses how public perceptions of the government's responsibility to support health have changed over time and explains how media coverage can influence -- and often limit -- our understanding of health issues.
Youth and youth-serving organizations play an important and unique role in supporting efforts to create healthy environments. Knowing how to plan communications efforts is a critical function of local organizations' collaborative success, within the local health department infrastructure and beyond. In this webinar, BMSG's Ingrid Daffner Krasnow and Lezak Shallat, along with the Network for a Healthy California, provide some foundational tools to plan ahead for strategic communications to help advance systems change in local communities.
Marketing for soda and junk food is everywhere kids are: at school, in the supermarket, in our communities and online. Try as they might, parents simply can't compete with the $1.8 billion food companies spend each year to entice and engage children. In this commentary (part of a larger report on obesity), BMSG's Lori Dorfman and CSPI's Margo Wootan discuss the issue and what can be done. View the commentary, full report, and supplemental graphs and charts.
Youth and youth-serving organizations play an important role in supporting efforts to creating healthy environments, and knowing how to talk about their work is a critical function of their success. In this webinar, BMSG's Ingrid Daffner-Krasnow and the Network for a Healthy California help participants learn how to communicate more effectively and better support youth voice in advancing systems change.
In 2012, two California cities asked voters to consider taxing soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The measures failed, but advocates can learn a lot from how the news media covered the issue. In this preliminary report, we discuss what arguments appeared in the news, how reporters portrayed the need for the policies, how government and the soda industry were characterized, and what this means going forward. A final report will be released later this year.
In this presentation, as part of the Institute of Medicine workshop Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight, BMSG's Lori Dorfman discusses how our message environment undermines health equity by targeting youth (especially youth of color) with marketing for unhealthy foods. Dorfman says this type of targeting often happens without parents' knowledge and makes recommendations for change, including conducting more research and pushing for policies that strengthen nutrition standards and hold industry accountable.
In the heat of a campaign, it can be easy to forget that advocacy is about more than winning a particular policy change. It's about values and relationships -- and that requires dialogue. In this brown bag discussion, Francisco (Pancho) Argüelles, executive director of the Living Hope Wheelchair Association, encourages us to step outside our comfort zones and learn how to open the space for conversation so that we can become better allies to communities struggling for justice.
Advocates work tirelessly for social change on a variety of issues. But their efforts may be thwarted by underlying negative attitudes toward government and a widespread misunderstanding of its role in creating a healthy, functioning society. As part of BMSG's 20th anniversary brown bag series, Patrick Bresette, program director for Public Works, explores how we can tackle this problem and build public support for a government dedicated to the common good.
Food companies use viral digital marketing tactics, which may be considered deceptive and in violation of state consumer protection laws, to induce children to share email addresses of their friends and spread brand advertising of unhealthy foods among their peers. This legal issue brief, prepared by the Public Health Advocacy Institute in collaboration with BMSG and the Center for Digital Democracy, explains the tactics being used and suggests ways they can be addressed, particularly under state law.
Cereal companies, the third biggest food marketer to children, are using sophisticated online marketing techniques to target kids with unhealthy products and get them to engage with brands in ways not possible through television advertising. In this study, BMSG's Andrew Cheyne, Lori Dorfman and Eliana Bukofzer, along with the Yale Rudd Center's Jennifer Harris, explore cereal companies' digital marketing tactics and implications for public health.
Although research suggests that healthy products can be profitable for the food industry, marketers continue to target children with ads for foods and beverages that are unhealthy, cheap and widely available. Such marketing is linked to overweight, obesity and related health problems. This brief report, prepared by Healthy Eating Research based on BMSG research, explains the scope of the problem and offers recommendations for improvement.
American children and adolescents remain exposed to a disproportionate amount of marketing for unhealthy foods and beverages, in spite of some progress by industry, government and schools to improve young people's food environments. This report -- a review of academic and industry literature on trends in food marketing to youth, as well as policy interventions -- explains what this means for public health researchers and advocates looking to improve kids' health.
In spite of the role that sugar-sweetened beverages play in chronic health problems, public health advocates face formidable challenges in arguing for a tax on them. In this article, BMSG's Lori Dorfman explains the backdrop that makes passing a soda tax so difficult and what advocates can do to increase the public's understanding of and support for such a solution. (Purchase required to view full text.)