Food-Focused Media Literacy for Remotely Acculturating Adolescents and Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the “JUS Media? Programme”

Gail M. Ferguson, Julie M. Meeks Gardner, Michelle R. Nelson, Cagla Giray, Hari Sundaram, Barbara H. Fiese, Brenda Koester, Steve P. Tran, Rachel Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Unhealthy eating is a major modifiable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases and obesity, and remote acculturation to U.S. culture is a recently identified cultural determinant of unhealthy eating among adolescents and families in low/middle-income countries. This small-scale randomized controlled trial evaluated the efficacy of the “JUS Media? Programme,” a food-focused media literacy intervention promoting healthier eating among remotely acculturating adolescents and mothers in Jamaica. Methods: Gender-stratified randomization of 184 eligible early adolescents and mothers in Kingston, Jamaica (i.e., 92 dyads: Madolescent.age = 12.79 years, 51% girls) determined 31 “Workshops-Only” dyads, 30 “Workshops + SMS/texting” dyads, and 31 “No-Intervention-Control” dyads. Nutrition knowledge (food group knowledge), nutrition attitudes (stage of nutritional change), and nutrition behavior (24-hour recall) were primary outcomes assessed at four time points (T1/baseline, T2, T3, T4) across 5 months using repeated measures analysis of covariances. Results: Compared to control, families in one or both intervention groups demonstrated significantly higher nutrition knowledge (T3 adolescents, T4 mothers: mean differences .79–1.08 on a 0–6 scale, 95% confidence interval [CI] .12–1.95, Cohen's ds = .438–.630); were more prepared to eat fruit daily (T3 adolescents and mothers: .36–.41 on a 1–5 scale, 95% CI .02–.77, ds = .431–.493); and were eating more cooked vegetables (T4 adolescents and T2 and T4 mothers: .20–.26 on a 0–1 scale, 95% CI -.03–.50, ds = .406-.607). Postintervention focus groups (6-month-delay) revealed major positive impacts on participants’ health and lives more broadly. Conclusions: A food-focused media literacy intervention for remotely acculturating adolescents and mothers can improve nutrition. Replication in Jamaica and extension to the Jamaican diaspora would be useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1023
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
Early online dateJul 16 2021
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adolescent health
  • Advertising
  • Family intervention
  • Globalization
  • Jamaica
  • Media literacy
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Remote acculturation
  • Transdisciplinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Food-Focused Media Literacy for Remotely Acculturating Adolescents and Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the “JUS Media? Programme”'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this