There is increased exposure to food content through food media (TV cooking shows, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, short-form culinary videos). The extensive research on food advertising shows that exposure to food through TV and online food advertising has effects on eating habits, can the same be said about other platforms of exposure to food content? In light of the childhood obesity epidemic and growing popularity of food media, it is timely to study how food media affects audiences especially in the formative years. Drawing on theories of media use and media effects, this research sought to (i) explore how and why adolescents use food media (ii) investigate the nutritional content of the foods portrayed on food media (iii) analyse associations between food media use and food-related behaviours and (iv) investigate the effects of food media on various food literacy components. The findings of this research reveal that food media are consumed both incidentally and selectively for education, social utility and entertainment. We also found that the recipes prepared on food media fall short of international recommendations for healthy diets. Food media consumption also has effects on eating cravings, hunger and food choice behaviour in the short term. The findings of research highlight the need for in depth exploration of the effects of the constant exposure to food via media for both communication and public health scholars.
Yandisa is a research fellow in food regulation and governance for population nutrition at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (Reg-Net). She has expertise in Public Health and Social Sciences research. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy, a master’s degree in Public Health. Before joining the ANU, Yandisa completed a PhD in Social Sciences (Communication studies), focusing on the effects of food media consumption on adolescents’ food literacy. Her research is on the architectures of regulation and governance of food policies related to the prevention of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs).