Media exposure is correlated with child obesity, yet the family behaviors underlying this link remain poorly understood. Using data from a sample of U.S. parents and their preschoolers, this study assessed parent and child exposure to 5 different media along with child dietary intake. Child healthy-meal schemas were measured with the Placemat Protocol, a novel play-based pretend meal assembly activity. Child and parent commercial TV viewing predicted greater obesogenic dietary intake for children in food-secure but not food-insecure households. Child commercial TV viewing also predicted a greater proportion of energy-dense to total foods in children's pretend healthy meals. Discussion focuses on food insecurity as a potential moderator of marketing effects and calls for continued research on child meal schema development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-464
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Food Insecurity
  • Healthy Meals
  • Parents
  • Preschoolers
  • Schemas
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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