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J Adolesc Health. 2002 Dec;31(6 Suppl):153-70.

The mass media and American adolescents' health.

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School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


American teens today grow up in a world saturated with the mass media. In general, the media depict a world in which unhealthy behaviors such as physical aggression, unprotected sex, smoking, and drinking are glamorous and risk-free. We summarize what is known about the media's effects on four adolescent health issues that have been studied most comprehensively: violence and aggression; sex; obesity, nutrition, and eating disorders; and alcohol and tobacco use. A number of approaches that have potential for helping turn the media into more positive forces for adolescents' health are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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