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Call for Research – The Consuming Child-in-Context in Unhealthy and Unsustainable Times

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2015

Helen Skouteris*
Deakin University
Michael Do
Deakin University
Leonie Rutherford
Deakin University
Amy Cutter-Mackenzie
Monash University
Susan Edwards
Monash University
School of Psychology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia. Email:


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 produces 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.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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