Author: Jenny Brown

The myth of the celebrity

Justin Timberlake, celebrity

A recognized face won't necessarily help sell products or change behavior.

World Lung Foundation is privileged to work within the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use to support governments in running anti-tobacco advertising. One challenge we encounter in almost every country we work in is preconceived notions about which types of messaging will work to motivate behavior change in smokers and non-smokers. People often derive notions of what makes a successful campaign from recalling ad campaigns they noticed or liked. It’s a natural impulse–why shouldn’t we model our campaign on Justin Timberlake’s latest Coca-Cola commercial? 

Continue Reading

Popular YouTube “how-to” videos include those on self-injury

YouTube offers many “how-to” videos. And these days, there’s not a lot that we can’t find a tutorial on, including cutting.

Self-injury, self-harm, self-mutilation: all common terms for a medical behavior classified as non-suicidal self-injury or NSSI. It is estimated that up to 25% of teens and young adults engage in this kind of behavior which includes cutting and burning oneself.

Time Healthland sheds light on a new study recently published in the journal, Pediatrics, which looked at videos on YouTube that highlight self-mutilation. What researchers found is shocking- when the terms  “self-injury” and “self-harm” were plugged in the search engine on YouTube, 50,000 videos popped up.

Continue Reading

Caloric labeling has yet to phase children and teens

When I look at a menu in a restaurant and find that the item I was going to order contains half of my daily caloric intake, I tend to steer away, for fear of having to buy bigger jeans if nothing else. However, a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity finds that caloric labeling, part of a law in the Affordable Care Act that aims to fight the growing obesity epidemic, does not have this same effect on children and teenagers.

mcdonald's menu with caloric labeling

Continue Reading

Shortage of health workers prompts media messages by the Global Health Workforce Alliance

the globeLast month, leaders and innovators in global health from around the world gathered in Thailand to share experiences of and solutions to problems facing health workers. In addition to organizing the meeting, the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) used a variety of health communications strategies and methods to raise awareness about health workers, the critical shortage of health workers in many countries and potential solutions to the problem.

Continue Reading

One-year anniversary of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign draws nation’s attention back to childhood obesity

headshot of Michelle ObamaMrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign was introduced to America one year ago as of this week. Upstream has posted various stories on this campaign against childhood obesity, like those about PSAs including Major League Baseball Players and front-of-package food labels.

This week, in honor of the one-year anniversary of her campaign to fight childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama embarks on a three-day publicity tour. According to the New York Times, this publicity stint will include the introduction of a public service announcement, appearances on the “Today” show and “Live with Regis and Kelly,” and delivery of a speech in Atlanta promoting gardening and healthy eating.

Continue Reading

Super Bowl XLV: Hoping that diehard fans don’t really die

Steeler fanA number of news sources this week, including New York Times and ABC News, have reported that a loss of a hometown team during the Super Bowl leads to more deaths in that city due to cardiac arrest in both men and women.

A study published yesterday in the journal, Clinical Cardiology, and originally published in The American Journal of Cardiology in June 2009, partially supports this claim. In this study, researchers compared cardiac mortality rates and total mortality rates in Los Angeles, California after the Super Bowl loss in 1980 and the win in 1984. Data from Los Angeles County was analyzed for all-cause and circulatory death rates for the day of the Super Bowl and 14 days following. The Super Bowl loss in 1980 was found to be associated with higher total rates of death, as well as higher cardiovascular rates of death. These rates decreased when the home team won in 1984.

Continue Reading

Soda pop? No, soda POT!

Canna Cola, Doc Weed, Sour Diesel, Grape Ape, Orange Kush- the names of beverages from a new line of marijuana soda.

lit up medical marijuana sign

A California-based company is launching the Canna Cola drink line in medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado next month and hopes to introduce it to those in California sometime this spring. However, this could be difficult with the passing of the “Brownie Law” in the Senate last year. This law, as Time reports, would enforce harsher penalization of the producers of goods that combine marijuana and a candy-like product or anyone who markets these types of products to minors.

Continue Reading

Joe Cool? Joe not so cool!

In line with yesterday’s post on adolescent smoking, a study was recently published that finds that cigarette advertisements and teen smoking are associated.

camel advertisements shown on outside of a convenience store

As reported on CNN, a study was recently done in Germany where researchers examined the role advertisements play in teen smoking uptake. More than 2,000 non-smoking teens were shown advertisements- eight ads for cigarettes and six ads for other varied products. During the nine months that these advertisements were seen, researchers report that 13 percent of the teens in the study took up smoking. In addition to being associated with increased exposure to cigarette advertisements, other factors were noted as contributors as well including older age, lower socioeconomic status, and having peers who smoked.

Continue Reading

Arizona shootings and mental health awareness

In the midst of the Arizona tragedy, I hope that there is at least one lesson that comes out of the horrific situation. The act that Jared Loughner allegedly committed is undeniably sad and inexcusable, but draws attention to the need for mental health awareness.

As also iterated in the Santa Barbara Independent, although we are not able to understand the motivations behind the shootings on Sunday, attention should be drawn to the fact that those living with mental illness, as it has been suspected that Loughner was, are no more likely to commit violent acts than the general population. A small group of individuals with specific types of mental illness that are left untreated are those that are more prone to violence.

Attention should also be drawn to the issues of funding and education related to mental health. Loughner never received treatment for mental illness, even after his behavior was deemed a problem by teachers and others at the community college he attended, as reported on CBS. But one may wonder- were any of the people in contact with this young man even aware of the mental health services available in their community? Were they educated in the warning signs of mental illness?

Continue Reading