Category: Uncategorized

Could you eat school lunch food like Mrs. Q did?

school lunch patty melt

A patty melt served at Mrs. Q's school. Photo credit: Mrs. Q

Mrs. Q, the anonymous Chicago area school teacher and creator of the blog “Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project,” has had all the hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly cracker sandwiches and Salisbury steaks she can stand.

After a full year of eating the lunch provided to the children at her school and documenting each meal in photos and text on her blog, she’s ready to go on a “cleansing diet.” While her personal lunch menu will change, Mrs. Q has vowed to continue to fight, albeit anonymously, for a bigger change.

Continue Reading

Entertainment education: A way to eliminate health disparities?

advertisement for telenovela, El Cartel 2Health communication is an emerging field, with many of its uses still coming to light. It was not until 1975 that health communication was recognized as a subset of the field of communication and not until  1996 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed an office of communication. For the first time, in 2000, health communication became a part of the Healthy People objectives. And as was written about on Upstream last week, health communication will remain an objective on Healthy People 2020 (awesome!). And still we are finding new areas in which health communication tools can be used to promote health! For instance, the use of entertainment education as a way to eliminate health disparities.

Continue Reading

American television and alcohol

shot of David Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff's new A&E television show sparks conversation about depiction of alcohol on television

A recent article in the New York Times addresses the relationship between television and alcohol, touting the line, “Television has a drinking problem.” It cites David Hasselhoff’s new reality series, “The Hasselhoffs”, which premieres on A&E, as a prime example of this issue. You may remember a 2007 YouTube video of Hasselhoff laying drunk on the floor, trying to eat a hamburger. Alessandra Stanley of NY Times asserts that his new show treats his alcoholism lightly, poking fun at a serious addiction. The problem? Television’s take on alcohol is either black or white, leaving out what lies in between. Encounters with alcohol are either hilariously funny or reason to admit someone to a rehab center. What about the grey area?

Continue Reading

Fertility management, iPhone app style

New iPhone app offers fertility management

Consider this:

Approximately one-third of pregnancies in the United States are not planned; that’s about 3 million per year.

More than 34 million iPhones and iPod Touches are being used in the U.S. market today.

CycleBeads© is a scientific, clinically tested, internationally known family planning tool that helps a women know when she is most- or not-fertile.

What’s the connection?

Continue Reading

Today is World AIDS Day

character holding red ribbon in honor of World AIDS DayIt being December 1st, it was quite obvious to me what I would write about today- World AIDS Day. In pursuit of news articles on the topic of the day, these are the headlines that jumped out at me: Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian go ‘dead’ for World AIDS Day, ‘Runway’ Designer Does T-Shirts for World AIDS Day, Hilary Duff: World AIDS Day Book Signing!, Editor Sir Elton Marks World Aids Day With Symbolic Flower Front Page. Yes, funds are being raised and the efforts being made are noble, but can articles like these that draw so much attention to celebrities and not AIDS itself really be considered health communication?

Continue Reading

Seeking balance in Digital Health Marketing

Photo credit

Where is the balance between 'good public health' and 'bad pharma money'?

Last week, the consumer protection groups Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group)Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against a number of popular health web sites, alleging unfair and deceptive patient profiling and marketing practices.

At the surface, sites such as QualityHealth, Health Central, and Everyday Health offer useful health information and interactive social support to consumers.  On another level, however, the sites capture visitors’ profile information and search histories, so as to tailor medication advertisements or other sponsored content to the visitors’ health concerns.

This case presents a conundrum for health communication scholars: Is QualityHealth an example of a financially self-sustaining health promotion strategy?  A break from underfunded public health work? Or is this kind of for-profit industry initiative unethical?

Continue Reading

Holidays mean many traditions, including GERD

There’s a reason GERD (Gastroesphageal Reflux Disease) Awareness Week includes the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving painting - Brownscombe

Feeling the effects of too much feasting? Heartburn to boot? The holidays come with joy, and health woes too.

Overeating around the holidays can be a trigger for a common yet serious gastrointestinal ailment: GERD.

According to, the most common symptom of GERD is chronic heartburn, but other symptoms include:

Continue Reading