Call for research - the consuming child-in-context in unhealthy and unsustainable times

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Publication details

Skouteris, H, Do, M, Rutherford, L, Cutter-Mackenzie, AN & Edwards, S 2010, 'Call for Research - the consuming child-in-context in unhealthy and unsustainable times', Australian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 26, pp. 33-45.

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Peer Reviewed



Childhood obesity is a highly complex issue with serious health and environmental implications. It has been postulated that young children (preschool-aged in particular) are able to internalise positive environmental beliefs. Applying a socioecological theoretical perspective, in this discussion paper we argue that although children may internalise such beliefs, they commonly behave in ways that contradict these beliefs as demonstrated by their consumer choices. The media directly influences these consumer choices and growing evidence suggests that media exposure (particularly commercial television viewing) may be a significant 'player' in the prediction of childhood obesity. However, there is still debate as to whether childhood obesity is caused by digital media use per se or whether other factors mediate this relationship. Growing evidence suggests that researchers should examine whether different types of content have conflicting influences on a child's consumer choices and, by extension, obesity. The extent to which young children connect their consumer choices and the sustainability of the product/s they consume with their overall health and wellbeing has not previously been researched. To these ends, we call for further research on this socioecological phenomenon among young children, particularly with respect to the influence of digital media use on a child's consumer behaviours.