FoodMania is a NEW media literacy program for improving family conversations and skills related to food marketing and nutrition.
FoodMania is the FIRST family-based media literacy obesity prevention program. Youth ages 9-14 and a parent attend the 6-class series together.
Kids & Food in a Marketing-Driven World was written and produced as a collaboration among Washington State University’s Murrow Center for Media & Health Promotion Research, Washington State University Extension, the Washington State University Department of Human Development and the NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, University of Washington.
Whom do we serve?
Children ages 9-14 and their families.
Why do we need FoodMania?
Nearly 1 out of 3 U.S. children are either overweight or obese. Children may be more likely to choose unhealthy food after seeing food advertisements on TV or online. Seeing just one or two food ads can affect young children’s eating choices.
FoodMania is innovative and unique. Most media-related educational programs that target school-age youth try to convince families to use less media, often with limited success. FoodMania empowers parents and youth to critically analyze marketing messages about food, helps them find accurate information and guides them to use tools such as food labels.
What are the goals of FoodMania?
The ultimate goals of FoodMania are to 1) increase parent purchasing and youth consumption of fruits and vegetables and 2) decrease parent purchasing and youth consumption of foods high in calories, fat, sugar and salt.
What does the FoodMania kit include?
- A Leader’s Guide, with detailed lesson plans and instructions for all 6 units
- 20 Handouts and activity sheets
- 2 copies of the 5W’s and Nutrition Facts Label posters
- 20 Family Resource Guides
- Activity cards for lessons
- USB containing PowerPoints for 6 units with embedded videos
- FoodMania Facebook campaign materials
- The FoodMania kit will be available in print or electronic format.
A FoodMania webinar will be available to those who work with youth ages 9 to 14 and are worried about the effects of food marketing on today’s families. A webinar was available to interested parties Friday, June 15, 2018. If you missed the webinar and are still interested in the curriculum, please contact Michelle Kistler at email@example.com.
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How do we know FoodMania works?
A field test of FoodMania in five Washington state counties demonstrated that it improved families’ use of nutrition facts labels for nutrition information, increased parents’ critical discussion of food marketing with youth, reduced youths’ susceptibility to food marketing, improved the home food environment, and increased youths’ consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Information about the outcomes can be found HERE and further down this page.
How can I learn more about FoodMania?
For information on how to get a copy of FoodMania contact Michelle Kistler, Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do families do in the FoodMania program?
Youth ages 9-14 attend 6, 2-hour sessions of interactive, engaging activities that address:
- Advertisements on TV, mobile devices, print media, bus signs, newspapers, public relations campaigns, and more
- Marketing strategies such as product branding, packaging, and placement
- The food environment, such as how food is presented and the size of plates
Sample activities include:
- Comparing and contrasting information found on a product’s packaging to that found on its Nutrition Facts
- Deconstructing marketing examples, using FoodMania’s 5 W Marketing Questions as a guide for analysis and evaluation
Youth ages 9-14 attend 6, 2-hour sessions with a parent. For the first five sessions, parents and youth meet in separate groups and then come together during the second hour for a group lesson. The final session is designed as a celebration for the parents and youth to enjoy together.
Each lesson is organized into 5 parts:
- Setting the Stage: General background information to provide context for the new information a lesson will introduce. Designed to engage parents and youth in relating to their previous experiences and knowledge.
- Lights, Camera: Provides information which the participants will need in order to take action and relate to their own experiences.
- Action: Opportunities to apply new information to daily life. Includes hands-on activities, small group discussion and brain-storming.
- Flash Back: Parents and youth get a chance to reflect on the content from the day’s lesson. The questions provided encourage parents and youth to share their personal perspective.
- Flash Forward: Parents and youth get a preview of the next session. They are given a take-home activity to complete together and encouraged to apply the information from the session at home.
FoodMania is the product of input from many people who have made significant contributions to this curriculum project. In addition to curriculum development collaboration, their work over these past five years has included conducting preliminary focus groups followed by extensive pilot and field testing as well as the gathering of follow-up data with program participants:
Project Leadership Team
Erica Weintraub Austin, Ph.D , Project Director, WSU Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Professor, and Director of the WSU Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion Research
Mary Katherine Deen, Ph.D, Project Co-Director, WSU Associate Professor and Extension Family& 4-H Youth Development Specialist
Jill Armstrong Shultz, Ph.D , Project Co-Director, WSU Extension Faculty Emeritus, Specialist in Nutrition and Public Health
Shirley Calodich, M.S., R.D., WSU Extension Program Manager, Health Promotion
Marilyn Cohen, Ph.D, Director of the NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy and Research, Associate Professor, College of Education, UW
Louise Parker , WSU Professor and Extension Family Specialist
Thomas Power, Ph.D , WSU Professor Emeritus, Department of Human Development
Washington State University Extension Faculty
Karen Barale, Associate Professor, EFNEP State Leader, Pierce County
Brian Brandt, 4-H Youth Development Faculty, Pierce County
Sandra (Sandy) Brown, Food Safety and Nutrition, Clark County
Missy Cummins, 4-H Youth Development Retional Specialist, Clark County
Gary Varrella , Associate Professor & 4-H Educator, Spokane County
Margaret Viebrock, Director, Chelan and Douglas Counties
Washington State University Extension Teams
Margaret Viebrock Extension Faculty and County Director
Michelle Lain 4-H Program Assistant
Hailey Croci, FoodMania Project Associate
Jeannie Kiehn, 4-H Program Coordinator
Lauen Hrncirik Scanga 4-H Youth Development Regional Specialist, Grant, Adams, & Lincoln Counties
Miette Dahlgren, 4-H Outreach Coordinator
Carolyn Russo, Program Coordinator
Sandra (Sandy) Brown Extension Faculty, Food Safety and Nutrition
Missy Cummins Extension Faculty, 4-HYouth Development Regional Specialist
Madaline Maestri Program Assistant
Erin Middlewood Program Assistant
Kelsey Condon Program Assistant
Karen Barale Associate Professor, EFNEP State Leader
Brian Brandt 4-H Youth Development Faculty
Alexandra Kaufman Program Coordinator/Educator
MacKenzie Good Program Coordinator and Educator
Kyle Lee Program Coordinator/Educator
Sarah Ingham Extension Educator
Gary Varrella Associate Professor &4-H Educator
Dori Babcock Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Health
Jennifer Fees Spokane County 4-HHealthy Living Coordinator
Consultants and Specialists
Barbara Johnson Program Operations Specialist, NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, UW
Michelle Kistler, Ph.D Project Specialist, WSU Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion Research
Bruce Austin WSU Research Associate in Educational Psychology and the Learning and Performance Research Center, College of Education
Celena Adler Technology Specialist, NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, UW
Vivian Hua Graphic Designer, NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, UW
Denise Crossler Fiscal Specialist, WSU
WSU Graduate Research Assistants
Zena Edwards Ph.D Student, Food Safety & Nutrition Extension Faculty, Clark County
C. Kit Kaiser Ph.D. Candidate
Davi Kallman Ph.D. Candidate
Whitney Stefani Ph.D. Candidate
Carrie Jo Benke Montana State University Extension
Pat BoyEs Washington State University Extension
Sarah Butzine Washington State University Extension
Victor Coleman Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition
Amy Ellings Washington State Department of Health
Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom Washington State University Extension
Jesus Hernandez Community Choice Healthcare Network
Glenn Johnson Pullman Mayor, Washington State University
Maura Little Washington State University
Kathleen Manenica Washington State University Extension
Don Sloma Thurston County Public Health and Social Services
Former Team Members
FoodMania was made possible through funding by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2012-68001-19618 to Washington State University.
Austin, E. W., Austin, B. W., French, B. F., & Cohen, M. A. (2018, online). The effects of a nutrition media literacy intervention on parents’ and youths’ communication about food. Journal of Health Communication, 23 (2): 190-199. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2018.1423649
Click HERE for a copy of this article
Austin, Erica Weintraub, et al. “The Role of Parents’ Critical Thinking About Media in Shaping Expectancies, Efficacy and Nutrition Behaviors for Families.” Health Communication 30.12 (2015): 1256-1268.
Refereed Conference Papers and Posters
Austin, E., Dean, M.K., Austin, B., Kaiser, C.K., Kallman, D., Edwards, Z., Stefani, W., Kistler, M., Cohen, M., Johnson, B., Parker, L., & Power, T. (2018, July). Foodmania: Effects of a curriculum using media literacy as the catalyst to improve parent-child discussion and food behaviors. Poster presented at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), Minneapolis, MN.
Edwards, Z., Brandt, C., & Kallman, D. (2018, May). FoodMania: Kids & food in a marketing driven world. Poster presented at the National Health Outreach Conference, Bloomington, MN.
Kaiser, C.K., Austin, E. W., Power, T., Kistler, M., Austin, B., Edwards, Z., Kallman, D. (2017, November). Nutrition focused media literacy empowers families to make healthier food choices in a marketing saturated environment. Paper presented at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
Kallman, D., Kistler, M., Kaiser, C.K., Austin, E.W. (2017, November). Exploring participant engagement in a supplementary facebook curriculum. Poster presented to the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
Austin, E. W., Deen, M. K., Cohen, M., Johnson, B., Power, T., Austin, B., Kistler, M., Edwards, Z., & Kallman, D., Kaiser, C. K. (2017, July). Stage 2 field testing of a family-based media literacy and nutrition program to prevent childhood obesity. Poster presented to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Washington, D.C.
Kallman, D., Kistler, M., Kaiser, C.K., & Austin, E.W. (2017, July). Exploring participant engagement in a supplementary Facebook component to the FoodMania curriculum. Poster Presented at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Washington, DC.
Austin, E.W., Austin. B. W., French. B., & Cohen, M. A. (2017, May). The effects of a nutrition media literacy curriculum on parents and children. Paper presented to the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association, San Diego, CA.
Austin, E. W., Shultz, J. A., Deen, M. K., Cohen, M., Johnson, B., Power, T., Austin, B., Kistler, M., Edwards, Z., & Kaiser, C. K. (2016, August). Field testing of a family-based media literacy and nutrition program to prevent childhood obesity. Poster presented to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, San Diego, CA.
Austin, E. W., Shultz, J. A., Deen, M. K., Cohen, M., Calodich, S., Johnson, B., Parker, L., & Power, T. (2015, July). Pilot testing of a media literacy-based curriculum to enhance youth and parent media skills and food behaviors: Year 3 of 5. Poster presented to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Pittsburgh, PA.
Austin, E W., Shultz, J. Armstrong, Cohen, M., Parker, L., Calodich, S., …Kallman, D. (2014, June). Audience-driven curriculum design to enhance youth and parent media skills and food behaviors: Year 2 of 5. Poster presented to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior National Conference, Milwaukee, WI.
Austin, E. W., Deen, M. K., Shultz, J. A., Calodich, S., Parker, L., Power, T., … Xu, S. (2013, August). A family-based media literacy approach to improving youth and family nutrition. Poster presented to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Portland, OR.
Refereed Conference Panels
Austin, E. W. (2017, July). Featured success stories for AFRI grants program. Presented to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Washington, D.C.
Kallman, D., (2016, November). Audience-Driven Social Media Curriculum to Enhance Parent Medial Skills and Food Behaviors. As part of mHealth for Underprivileged Communities: Challenges and Opportunities. Presented to the National Communication Association, Health Communication Division, Philadelphia, PA.
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